Principles of Change

Success at transformation demands more than strategy – it requires an intimate understanding of the human side, as well as organisational culture, values, people and behaviors that must be changed to deliver desired results.

Long-term structural transformation has four characteristics: scale (the change affects all or most of the organisation), magnitude (it involves significant alterations of the status quo), duration (it lasts for months, if not years), and strategic importance. Yet organisations will reap the rewards only when change occurs at the level of the individual employee. What follows is a list of guiding principles for change management. Using these as a systematic, comprehensive framework, we can understand what to expect, how to manage personal change, and how to engage the entire organisation in the process.

Innovation involves deliberate application of information, imagination and initiative in deriving greater or different values from resources, and includes all processes by which new ideas are generated and converted into useful services or products.

When employees feel that they have a say in decisions that affect them and they know that management is listening to their ideas for removing obstacles to change they become increasingly motivated.

The best change programmes reinforce core messages through regular, timely advice that is both inspirational and actionable.

Articulating a formal case for change and creating a written vision statement.

Explicitly address culture and attack the cultural centre.

Change starts at the top and begins on day one.

Change is inherently unsettling for people at all levels of an organisation.

No change programme has gone completely according to plan.

Organisations often make the mistake of assessing culture either too late or not at all.

Change is a personal journey as well as an institutional one.

Ownership is often best created by involving people in identifying issues and crafting solutions.

Address the human side of change systematically.

Paul Brown’s ‘A Brief Introduction to Change Management’ is the first of his management series videos and delivers a concise and very accessible introduction to Change Management.

One of the first action steps in implementing change is to create a sense of urgency.