Strategic Management: Formulation and Implementation

Implementing Change

As Peter F. Drucker emphasizes, the best time to cast off the past is when the organization is successful not when it is in trouble. When an organization is successful, it resources are allocated "to the things that did produce, to the goals that did challenge, to the needs that were unfulfilled".

Change succeeds when an entire organization participates in the effort. An organization can be divide into three broad action roles: change strategists, change implementors, and change recipients, and each of these roles plays a different key part in the change process (see section "Nature of Organizational Change").

Accompanying threestep process are a number of tactics that have become standard operating procedures for any organization attempting to achieve significant organizational change. These constitute a kind of "ten commandments" for implementing successful organizational change.

Although the following list of Ten Commandments was drawn up by Todd D. Jick, it embraces many of the major prescriptions contained in the planned change literature:

Analyze the Organization and Its Need for Change
Change strategists and implementors should understand an organization's operations, how it functions in its environment, what its strengths and weaknesses are, and how it will be affected by proposed changes to craft an effective implementation plan. As part of this process, changemakers should study the company's history of change. One observer suggests that companies with historic barriers to change are likely to continue this pattern of resistance.
Create a Shared Vision and Common Direction
One of the first steps in engineering change is to unite an organization behind a central vision. Implementors should "translate" the vision so all employees will understand its implications for their own jobs.
Separate from the Past
It is difficult for an organization to embrace a new vision of the future until it has isolated the structures and routines that no longer work.
Create a Sense of Urgency
The sense of urgency is essential to rallying an organization behind change. Convincing an organization that change is necessary isn't that difficult when a company is teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.
Support a Strong Leader Role
An organization should not undertake something as challenging as large scale change without a leader to guide, drive, and inspire it. This leadership role may not be held by one person alone. Therefore, many organizations are now turning to change leader teams.
Line up Political Sponsorship
Leadership, alone, cannot bring about largescale change. A change effort must have broadbased support throughout an organization. One way for strategists to begin winning support for change is to actively seek the backing of the informal leaders of the organization. The most importance is determining precisely whose sponsorship is critical to change program's success. To help do this, implementors develop "commitment plan" encompassing the following elements:
  • Identify target individuals or groups whose commitment is needed.
  • Define the critical mass needed to ensure the effectiveness of the change.
  • Develop a plan for getting the commitment of the critical mass.
  • Create a monitoring system to assess the progress.
Craft and Implementation Plan
The plan should include specific goals an and should detail clear responsibilities for each of the various roles strategists, implementors, and recipients. However, to much and too rigid planning can lead to paralysis, indecision, and collapse.
Develop Enabling Structures
Creating new mechanisms for implementing change can be critical precursor to any organizational transformation. Enabling structures designed to facilitate and spotlight change range from the practical (e.g., setting up pilot tests, training programs, and new reward systems) to the symbolic (such as rearranging the organization's physical space).
Communicate, Involve People, and Be Honest
Change leaders should communicate openly and seek out the involvement and trust of people throughout their organizations. Effective communication is critical from the very start.
Reinforce and Institutionalize the Change
By reinforcing the new culture, leaders affirm the change importance and hasten its acceptance. To speak of "institutionalizing" the change, organizations hope to create cultures and environments that recognize and thrive on the continuing necessity of change.

These commandments are not the only tactics that the planned change literature has advocated. However, they provide a useful blueprint for organizations embarking on change, as well as a way to evaluate a change effort in progress.

Two elements are tightly intertwined with the implementation of organizational change power politics and pathology. All organizations are political systems, and changes occur within the context of both individual and group aspirations.

Thus strategic changes become enmeshed in issues that are ideological (What type of company should we?) as well as issues that are personal (What's going to be the impact on my career?). However, they will be magnified by and indeed may "play themselves out" through the change.