Change management is a systematic approach to dealing with the transition or transformation of an organisation's goals, processes or technologies.
The purpose of change management is to implement strategies for effecting change, controlling change and helping people to adapt to change.
This week on Springboard Your Virtual University, Professor Pikay Richardson, who has taught leadership across 26 countries in the world took listeners through what change management is and how leaders could respond to changes.
Commenting on how critical change management is, he said, “we use the term change management but actually it should be change leadership.
“Change is led; you lead people into a different setting. It is something different from the status quo. The status quo is not good enough and you have to lead into a different setting which is better so it should be change leadership,” he stated.
He said change must be managed properly to get the best outcome in a world that was constantly changing.
“Change must be managed because the world is about change and the only thing that is not changing is God. Change is the only thing that is permanent. We are born, we grow and die and these are changes.
“But the danger of change management is that people may refuse to face the change and if you refuse to face the change and do not do anything about it, then the change can destroy you,” he cautioned.
He said change could have a positive effect when the response was good; could be neutral and won’t affect anything; and could be destructive as well.
“Change can kill companies, individuals and nations. Not responding to change can be very dangerous because you cannot afford to fight change.
“When change happens, as a leader, you must sit down and ask yourself what you can do about it with what you have,” he advised.
Prof. Richardson said internal change was very important as it helped the individual or company to improve things internally.
“Nobody is forcing it on you, but you realise it yourself that it is something you have to do,” he stated.
Using his life as an example, he said there were a lot of business economists around the world and they sometimes found it difficult to get consulting jobs, whereas leadership was an area where there were not many consultants.
He said it was for that reason why he left business economics to improve on his skills in leadership and use that for consultancy.
“One of the most important things in a person’s life is to be ready at all times to give up what you are for what you might become.
“If you are very happy with what you are, you will always stay there, but life is about improvement so you should always be ready to see what else you can do to improve,” he noted.
10 tips from Prof. Richardson
1. Springboard impact; I met someone on the flight from Amsterdam to Accra who said 95 per cent of his knowledge was acquired on Springboard. This is a reflection of where the world is going. Today, you can do a whole MBA online.
2. Convenience and cost; convenience and cost account for the growing popularity of Springboard, Your Virtual University. The knowledge you pay $1000s to acquire is delivered for free in the comfort of your home; and you can actually replay it.
3. Change leadership; change management is actually change leadership. Leading people to a place preferably to the status quo.
4. The force of change; change can be positive, negative, or neutral. It can kill a company or individual. The day research suggests that asbestos causes cancer, an asbestos company will die if it hasn’t got good leadership.
5. Flexibility; in the post-war world, any job you got was a job for life. Today, it is about employability, and that means retraining. Robotics and Artificial Intelligence will be very key going forward; if you don’t build new competences, your job could be at risk.
6. Career advantage; in primitive societies, age was wisdom. Today, it is technological mastery. That’s why many companies are appointing younger CEOs. Knowledge and skill have overtaken age as considerations for promotion.
7. Business advantage; previously, size was the big source of business advantage. It was always thought that the big company would swallow the small company. Today, the key advantages are speed and smartness.
8. Resistance; human beings are fundamentally conservative and creatures of habit. That explains why people keep smoking in spite of bold written warnings. Take off the H in habit and you still have –a-bit of the habit remaining.
9. 10 tips for leading change;
a. Change corporate culture
b. Get buy-in from the top
c. Involve every layer
d. Make the rational and emotional case
e. Act your way into the new thinking
f. Engage! engage! engage
g. Lead outside the lines
h. Leverage formal systems
i. Leverage informal systems
j. Assess and adapt
10. Change leadership summary; lead the change, deal with resistance, and don’t impose change because change imposed is change opposed.