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Leading People through Change

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“Change is inevitable and necessary to succeed” Quiros (2014). With this truth in mind we must enhance our skills to lead people through various aspects of change. The purpose of this literature review is to identify commonalities across several articles their assumptions on the importance of change inclusive of my personal views. We will review two elements and the hindrances they present in the successful implementation of change within an organization. The two obstacles will be human adaptability and leadership strategy to progress the change. In a study by Michael Stanleigh (2013) a group of top executives were surveyed and it was identified that one of the main reasons for change failure was people. I found this concept open to interpretation as it may be argued that failure to change through people could be due to the lack of change acceptance by the followers or poor implementation by leaders. We may further reason that the pendant may swing in either direction however; leaders will have the more accountability and suffer greater consequences if change fails.

This was apparent in the case study as expressed by Pye (2005); the CEO’s employment was at risk due to his failure to implement change effectively during the first attempt. During a recent change initiative within my organization called the Blue Print for Small Business a similar challenge has arisen resulting in the lack of buy-in by all stakeholders. This has resulted in poor performance and a reduction of the portfolio, improvement is critical at this stage. Due to such an impact on revenue growth and team performance efforts must be focused on understanding the disposition of followers in order to avoid further pitfalls within the change management process. Leaders must be aware of the human aspect of change at various stages of the process Quiros (2014).

It is essential that people are provided with opportunities to transition from the past and embrace the new. Followers must understand the importance of the change and how their contribution will support the future of the organization. Being able to adapt to change at a rapid pace will allow the organization to remain on the cutting edge of technology and service. We must utilize our skills as leaders to prepare our people to be on the cutting edge also as Quiros, further states that adaptability is critical for any successful change. This view is supported through my personal experiences of change initiatives as a people manager. Over the years employees have raised common concerns such as: What will be required of me?

Will I be given more responsibility and no extra pay?
Everything is going well why is there a need for change?
Addressing such concerns is a critical stage in helping employees adapt to the change itself. It opens the door for healthy discussions and presents opportunities to sell the change vision and settle questions that may be presenting resistance. Stranleigh (2013) established that in our personal lives we are in control making our own decisions but in organizations power is relinquished therefore; the only way to recapture some of the lost control is through resistance. While this rationale may be subjective to Stanleigh’s life experiences the fact remains resistance does exist within the change process. It may be perceived as insubordination, disruptive or negative behavior. No matter how it is defined resistance has the power to impact change negatively.

A case of resistance was clearly illustrated by Pye (2005) during the execution of change by the CEO. The potential consequences of such a resistance would have been catastrophic to the organization and the career of the CEO. With this in mind it is imperative for leaders to face resistance up front as this is usually recognized in the first phase of the change process. Stranleigh (2013) provides several steps to reduce the level of resistance below are a few that I can personally attest to: Engage employees in the planning process

Address the needs of the people for those involved in the change Phase the change in order to allow people to assimilate

Be open and honest
Further recommendations were provided by Quiros (2014) who suggested that we be sensitive and respectful by helping our employees assimilate to the change and be the first to communicate the change message. In order to progress to advance the change process such matters of human adaptability must be considered early on. In her a letter outlining the future plans of growth and change for her company CEO Gayle, Fuguitt exuded a spirit of passion, optimism and confidence that results will be achieved. To lead people through change there must be a convincing message and compelling vision that all key stakeholders should be in agreement of. Collaboration is critical and the foundation of our insights Fuguitt (2014) this is an essential leadership strategy to any change. When this approach was used on the second change attempt the CE was greatly successful and received the buy-in of all stakeholders. Collaboration starts with effective communication skills, brainstorming and fostering a culture of high involvement to the cause. There are many methods that may be used throughout this process yet, what I have found to be most effective is to involve people in the change process as much as possible through implementation teams, sharing of best practices and celebrate small successes.

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