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Friday, June 30, 2023

Lean Quote: Change is Inevitable so Lead for Success

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Change is inevitable. Change is constant.  —  Benjamin Disraeli 

Over 100 years ago, Benjamin Disraeli, former British Prime Minister, said: “Change is inevitable. In a progressive country change is constant.” The same can be said for business.

The success of an organization depends increasingly on its ability to adjust quickly to new situations. New trends, regulations, and fierce competition force companies to make major organizational changes in order to remain competitive.

Too often, the company makes the change too late – after they start losing money, market, and cash flow, and funds for the necessary investment are no longer available. Good reasons and timing for change cannot guarantee immunity from pitfalls, such as employee resistance, confusion, and excessive cost.

There are seven aspects of leading change that should be considered if you want success:

Careful Planning
Careful planning saves time and money. Chances for success improve with a well-prepared disclosure and good communication; with careful weighing of potential resistance and its consequences; with a detailed timetable for execution.

Employee resistance is often self-defense, and fear of losing security, power, or status. To offset such fears discuss potential new career paths, the necessity and advantages of different positions, the reason for the change; and show appreciation for loyalty. Some employee lack self-confidence and consider and change a threat. Teaching, training, and full support are good remedies.

Good communication is vital. Reasons for the change must be explained beforehand. Clear communication is the best investment, since resistance id often due to mis-interpretation, half-information, and rumors that precede the change. Easy-to-understand written and verbal communication should reach all levels of the organization.

When employees get seriously involved, the situation becomes easier. It’s not “us” and “them” (management). The sooner people are involved in the plan, the more they become involved. Those on board early are supportive and spread the word. This prevents rumors and the build-up of resistance.

Credibility of management, based on past experience plays a key role. Where trust is lacking, problems multiply. The best remedy is honest information and better communication. These are stepping stones to future trust.

In spite of the best efforts, some resistance may remain. It's far better to anticipate objections than to spend your time putting out fires, and knowing how to overcome resistance to change is a vital part of any change management plan.

Once everything is prepared and in place, execution should be fast. A D-day must be set to introduce the new organization. Postponement is not recommended, even if there is a last-minute problem.

Organizational change must be well thought out beforehand. Success depends on communication, motivation, education, and involvement.

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