The history of change management entails that change is not easy, and applying it in a corporation setting needs robust leadership approaches. Al-Haddad and Kotnour (2015) provide a research synthesis for the history of change management; they point out that less than thirty percent of change initiatives in organizations are successful. Organizational changes involve many stakeholders; a plan that involves and outlines the role of each stakeholder affected by the change is key to successful change management. Biech (2007) argues that the engagement level of stakeholders in any change initiative affects the success of the change implementation plan. In my experience, I learned that people become more engaged if they are well trained. According to Biech (2017), individuals who receive training on techniques and the theory behind those techniques respond better to change and can apply change more successfully in multiple contexts. The questions that come to my mind are: How do we decide on the best change framework and theories? How are our leadership approaches affected by change readiness level?
Several frameworks and theories support the success of organizational change. I resonate with Beer and Nohira’s (2000) Theory E. Theory E takes a softer approach where it focuses on “developing the organizational culture and people’s capabilities and usually welcomes people’s involvement, feedback and reflection” (p.240). Theory E aligns with the Biech (2017) concepts; building capabilities and engaging stakeholders. Leaders who are responsible for implementing change in any corporate setting need to focus on the individual’s readiness level for a change. Al-Haddad & Kotnour (2015) assert that guiding individuals and motivating them plays a pivotal role in implementing change. However, accounting for individuals’ readiness without considering the organizational readiness level can fail leaders in their change journey.
Organizations’ readiness level for change depends on the complexity level of change and the unique circumstances of organizations. For example, Antwi and Kale (2014) listed four essential elements of change management and considered these elements as core elements of change in the healthcare environment. These elements are “(1) environmental circumstance, (2) organizational harmony, (3) power dynamics and, (4) organizational capacity” (p.18). They further asserted that leaders should tailor their leadership approach to fit their organizational needs as “change efforts vary in their complexity and will resultantly affect a change leader’s ability to satisfy these core elements” (Antwi and Kale, 2014, p.18). Weiner (2009) argue that measurement of
organizational readiness should not focus only on individual readiness but rather on organizational readiness, he also stated that leaders fail at measuring organizational readiness when they “treat readiness as a general state of affairs rather than something change-specific” (p.6). Therefore, successful leaders are those who customize their leadership approach to fit the unique circumstances of each organization.
Have you worked in an organization that considered both its readiness level and the individual’s readiness level? How did the complexity level of change affect your leadership approach?
Al-Haddad, S., & Kotnour, T. (2015). Integrating the organizational change literature: A model for successful change. Journal of Organizational Change Management, 28(2), 234-262. doi:10.1108/JOCM-11-2013-0215
Antwi, M., & Kale, M. (2014). Change management in healthcare: Literature review. The Monieson Centre for Business Research in Healthcare, 1-35. Retrieved from Royal Roads University Moodle database.
Biech, E. (2007). Thriving through change: A leader’s practical guide to change mastery. Alexandria, VA: ASTD Press.
Weiner, B. (2009). A theory of organizational readiness for change. Implementation Science, 4(67). Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1186/1748-5908-4-67