WORKSHOP: Personal Trainer ... Stephen Bubb - We are undergoing a restructuring programme and there is obviously a lot of change. How do I manage this process?

It is vital to tackle change properly. There are processes which can help organisations move through change, and these can be used for continuous improvements so that it does not seem to employees that change is uncomfortably fast.

If people don't understand the need for change, or what changes will be required, they may respond by actively fighting against the proposed changes.

Many organisations starting a programme of change fail to understand that organisations are made up of the actions of its employees, and getting people on board is a pre-requisite, not an optional extra. Organisations comprise a variety of people motivated by a range of different issues and each with an individual relationship to change.

One fundamental and underlying aspect is the need to create within the workforce an excitement about change.

The job of the leadership is to create this excitement and to support employees throughout the process.

Organisations with core philosophies - vision, values and a deep sense of purpose are likely to be more successful than organisations that focus only on the bottom line. Therefore change requires leaders with belief, vision and commitment. With these the organisation can become proactive and the people in it empowered and creative.

A leader needs help. No one can do it on their own, the leader has to find out quickly where support is likely to come from. It may not necessarily come from members of the executive team or board of directors.

Different people are motivated to change by different factors - some internal and some external. Leaders need to recognise and make use of the different actions and incentives that are most appropriate for each group. Thus, those motivated internally may need coaching, support and encouragement, while those externally motivated may need incentives, systems, measurements and objectives. If leaders can get up to a third of the people in an organisation moving in the right direction, the rest are likely to follow.

It is essential that some quick wins are incorporated into the change programme, because persistence is a rare quality in most people. Leaders must break down enormous goals into bite-sized chunks. Everybody will perform better if there can be a celebration of small victories along the way.

Stephen Bubb is chief executive of the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (Acevo).

Send your questions to: stephen.bubb@haynet.com.

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