If there is one thing that should be fully understood when it comes to behavioral change, it’s that one solution does not work for everyone. For an organization, it is even more challenging because you employ such a large variety of people who all possess different abilities as well as different learning styles. Any essay writer changes that need to be made will have to be inclusive of all those different personalities and abilities which is as challenging as it sounds, but it is not impossible to accomplish. It will take the trial and error of multiple techniques and practices in order to determine which one is best suited for the organization. In order to find the right solution, there are five stages of change that are needed in order for any behavioral changes to be effective and successful: pre-contemplation, contemplation, the preparation, action, and maintenance (Webb, 2019). Understanding these stages will help to develop the best plan for implementing the changes needed to improve the overall efficiency of the organization as well as the employees.
The pre-contemplation stage is the first step in the change process and it is where the need for change has yet to be accepted as an issue. In some instances, especially with behavioral change, individuals are aware that their behavior is less than desirable but they often avoid anything that will remind them that it is setting them back. When an employee passes a task onto someone else, it is often due to the fact that they cannot accomplish it themselves or that they have a short cut method to complete it that is different than how the organization wants it. They will fabricate an excuse to justify their inability to complete the task, but the truth is often that they just do not want to change how they do things so they avoid doing them. This is the point where Human Resources and/or supervisors would intervene and ensure that the employees is aware of the change that needs to be made. They need to ensure that the employee fully understands that their current behavior is preventing them from achieving the goals that have been set for them by the organization which can affect not only their performance but it could potentially cause them to lose their job entirely. This understanding will help the employee move onto the second stage of change which is contemplation.
This is the stage when the need for change is known and understood, but the willingness, and often times, the cost for that change make the process take longer than anticipated. In this stage, the employee is aware of the benefits of making the change and how much their performance and productivity at work will improve, but uncertainty and hesitation can make this stage take month or even years. (Cherry, 2019). The employee understands how the change will help them improve but, some behaviors that developed over time will be harder to break than others. If they have spent years doing the same short cut trick to get the work done faster, they will not want to change it to the process that will get the job done the same way but might take longer. Even if the change will make the employees’ overall work performance improve, they will only focus on the fact that it will take them longer and they will not see a difference in the end result. This can often lead to many being unable to move past the contemplation stage which can end up causing problems for the organization. In order to move past this stage, the employee must understand that the change is necessary and the employer must be able to provide alternative solutions that can make the change easier for the employee. This will then begin the third stage which is preparation.
In order to prepare the employee for the major changes that have yet to come, it is best to start out with smaller changes to help them prepare. Behavioral changes are difficult because people are resilient. Change does not come easily and there are some who naturally push against changes even if everyone else has already made the change. This is the point where the employee should be provided with the necessary information and where the initial planning should be completed. This is a very important stage because it will help build the foundation needed to make the overall change effective and permanent. Studies have shown that fifty percent of people who attempt behavior change and skip this stage relapse within twenty-one days. (Webb, 2019). This stage should be the point where the plan of action should be determined and the next step in the process can begin; action.
In this step, it is exactly as the name suggests. This is where the plan of action is put into place and the employee starts to make the necessary modifications to their behavior in order to initiate the change process. This step can be very challenging for some because it requires extensive commitment to the changes being made as well as the time and energy to be able to make them. Everything that was planned out in the previous stage are now implemented. This is where the resilience of some individuals becomes the greatest challenge they face. As the changes are being made, many old habits that have been engrained in them will begin to resurface. Both employer and employee will have to work together in order to help the employee resist the urge to fall back into old habits. This leads to the final stage of the change process; maintenance.
For many organizations, they have what is called a probationary phase for employees, especially new hires. For new employees, there is a three-month probationary period where they learn the ins and outs of the organization and where they learn what is expected of them. The same concept can be applied to behavioral change. When changes within an organization have been implemented, there is a period between when the change is made and when regular production will resume where employees have an opportunity to develop their familiarity with the new process or changes. The importance of this stage is to help prevent a relapse of the past behaviors from happening. This may require changes like avoiding situations or triggers associated with past habits which can prove the most difficult because it may mean avoiding certain activities and individuals (Harvard, 2012).
No form of change will ever be easy to achieve. Each person will respond to change differently which will be the most challenging part of any change that an organization chooses to make, especially when it comes to the behavior of its employees. In order to ensure that the change process is successful, it may take a few tries before getting it right. Relapses can happen and ‘old habits die hard’ but you will never have to completely start over. Each ‘relapse’ or error will be the starting point of a new trial where you can learn what went wrong and what can be done better to help improve the results. These opportunities will help in developing the most successful solution to meet the behavioral needs of the organization.
Successful change is hard to achieve. The world changes so rapidly that an organization that does not adapt to the changing times will often fail to succeed and it has caused many to close their doors permanently. There have been many strategies and initiatives that have been developed in order to assist with the need for change and although many of them claim to be successful, many organizations still failed because of insufficient and ineffective change leadership when it was needed. In order to ensure that changes in an organization are successful, strong leadership is necessary for implementation. The same way that a car cannot drive without someone sitting in the driver’s seat to guide it, the same concept applies to the success of an organization that tries to adapt to the changes happening around it; it needs proper leadership in order to successfully implement any changes that need to be made. The right leadership will help an organization not only effectively communicate and prepare the employees for the changes, but also help measure the results of that change to determine whether it was truly successful.
The success of an organization is often determined by how well each level functions with each other. If one part of an organization falters, it can cause the remaining levels to fall short. Management plays a key role in effective change management because they are the level of the organization that implements the changes and they are tasked with providing the employees who work under them with the required information and training to ensure that the organization continues to function as one unit. An organization must have the correct leadership and support from the executive team if they are to successfully unify the organization. When it comes to the employees, many unsuccessful leaders have often been found to focus on only the “what” aspect behind the change. In order to be successful, they need to focus on both the “what” and the “why” (CCL, 2020). Employees look to the leaders of their organization for guidance and a leader’s ability to communicate effectively with their staff is important. In order for employees to fully understand the need for the change, they need leaders who can thoroughly explain it to them and blend it in with the values of the organization. These leaders will also be responsible for conducting the necessary reviews to determine whether the objectives of the organization and the goals for employee performances has been met once the change has been implemented. This is where the effective training required for the change is important in improving employee skills and performance so that they are capable of achieving what the organization wishes for them to achieve. The leaders of an organization are the ones who set the goals and objectives of an organization and they are responsible for training the employees to achieve these goals.
Once an organization has determined the goals they wish to achieve, another aspect of change that they should focus on is who within the organization this change will impact the most. Whenever a change is made, there is a type of domino effect that can occur within an organization. Even if the change happens to just one department, the effects of that change can be felt by all other departments that are connected to it. Minor changes often do not have as big of an impact, but major changes within an organization can have a big impact on how the organization functions. It is the responsibility of the leadership team to evaluate the effects of these changes, major or minor, and determine whether they are positive or negative. If it is a positive effect, then the leadership team can continue to monitor its progress and it can be considered an effective and successful change within the company. If it has a negative effect, then the leadership team will have to reevaluate the initial change that was made and determine which aspect of the change needs to be adjusted in order to produce a positive result. It is usually a process of trial and error until they find the most suitable change for the organization but it is necessary for an organization, especially if the change will impact all the employees of the company.
Another important aspect to ensure an effective change process is employee support. Providing support to employees is essential to assist employees to emotionally and practically adjust to the change and to build proficiency of behaviors and skills needed to achieve desired results (courtney, 2016). If there is no one there to answer questions that you have, it is highly unlikely that anyone will learn anything. For employees, having someone there to guide them through the change as well as provide emotional support when the process of the change becomes frustrating is essential. It may sound strange to say that an organizational change can affect you emotionally but it happens quite often, especially when major changes occur within the organization. This is most common in employees who have been at the job for years and who have been doing their work a certain way that was effective at the time. Those employees are then thrown into a new way of doing the job that changes everything that they know, whether it’s a completely new procedure or going from handwriting everything to a new computer system that completes the process faster and eliminates the need for paper. It can be quite a shock for the employees who are older and who have been there the longest because they will have the most trouble adapting to the new change. Ensuring that they have the proper support when they need it and ensuring that the training is catered to their ability and pace of learning will be the most effective way of ensuring that they are able to handle the new changes.
When implementing a change within an organization, no process is without its flaws. Regardless of how effective the change is presently, there will always be continued room for improvement. The most important aspect of effective change leadership and the biggest responsibility that often falls on HR as well as management is the ability to measure how effective the change has been. Documentation is key in keeping track of employee performance, progress, and any issues that they face along the way and these will help with measuring the effectiveness of change. Without it, there is no real way to track the progress or determine what parts of the organization need to improve.
Continuous improvement is what allows an organization to continue to adapt to the changing world around it. You will often ask questions such as “Did the change assist in achieving business goals?” or “What could have been done differently?” (courtney, 2016). These questions are just two of the many questions that will be continued to be asked even after the change has been implemented. In order determine if any changes are effective and successful, proper leadership in the different levels of the organization are essential because it will ensure that the organization succeeds in achieving its goals as well as allow it to reach new levels that it couldn’t reach before.
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Tasks Associated with Change
Change is inevitable especially in the workplace. Every organization will strive to be better than their competitors and in order to do that, they continuously change different aspects of the workplace to both improve productivity as well as the overall performance of employees. Before any changes can be made, there are important tasks that need to be completed and these steps must be taken in order to ensure that the change is implemented effectively. Often times, organizations will set a specific time frame that they want the change to be completed, and management will be required to fulfil specific tasks within that time in order to successfully implement that change. These tasks often fall into a few steps; prepare for change, explain the change, acknowledge the loss, create the climate, build a plan, launch, and sustain. (CMOE, 2020).
When preparing for change, leaders must first gather the information about what parts of the organization require change. They need to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the current organizational structure and see where the flaws are in the process. This is the opportunity that leaders have to seek out different solutions. Being open minded is very important during this process because some of the solutions that will be found may be different than what the organization is used to. It is important for leaders to ensure that they do their research on each of the solutions that they find and gather that information to help validate their organizations need for it and to help stakeholders make an informed decision before proceeding with it. If there is no valid proof or facts to show the effectiveness of these solutions, stakeholders will be very resilient in their decision for change.
Understanding the opportunities for change and where the change is needed, leaders will need to eventually explain to stakeholders what that need is. When gathering information, leaders can engage with employees so that they can get first-hand accounts of what issues the organization faces internally to help determine what solutions would be effective. They can also speak with other managers about the needs of the business that require the need for the change. These discussions will help with establishing the benefits of making the change in the long term and how to ensure that it remains effective. They can also discuss the possible resistance that this change will have on the employees.
With any form of change, there will always be concerns. Once the leaders have explained the need for the change, they must then go to the employees to get a better understanding of any concerns with the change that they may have. Regardless of how effective the change is, many employees will show a resilience to making that change. For many, especially those who have been with the organization for years, major changes will be harder for them to adapt than it would be for newer employees. Newer employees would adapt the change easily because they haven’t had the time to truly soak in the norms and current function in the organization. For the employees who have been there longer, changing their current habits will be difficult because it has become something they are used to. For them, the process of changing will be a slower one because they will have to break out of their habits one at a time in order to adapt to the change.
With all change, there will be those “compliant” employees who are both accepting of the new change and able to breeze through the learning process. This is where leaders play a key role. They must ‘create the climate’ by identifying those key employees who support the change and who can help the leaders set a desirable atmosphere for the new change among the more resilient employees. This is the time when you show them the benefits of the new change and persuade them to let go of the old ways and accept the new. The influential employees who accept the change can assist with helping the other employees become more comfortable with the new change according the plan that the leaders have set in place.
In order for the implementation do be done effectively, a leader must effectively measure how successful it is and whether the goals of the organization have been accomplished. The leader must not take any risks when it comes to the implementation of the change. They must know who will experience the change first, what kind of changes will take place, where the change will occur, and when the change will happen. (CMOE, 2020) This is a true test of the organizational skills of the leaders because they will have to have a clear plan of how the change will occur before the process can begin. The process itself needs to be ‘smooth’ in order for the leaders to observe the effects so that that they can determine if any adjustments need to be made before the overall launch of the changes.
The last task happens after the changes have been implemented. The leader will be tasked with observing how the changes impacts the organization and make the necessary adjustments need for continuous improvements. Even after implementation, there will still be challenges that are faced and barriers that create problems. This is where the adjustments become necessary to overcome those barriers and improve the effectiveness of the changes made. Once the barriers have been conquered, then the leaders can focus on maintaining the changes for long-term efficiency. There will always be opportunities for improvement along the way as the changes become a part of the organizational norm.
When implementing changes, there are many important factors that need to be considered and many important tasks that need to be achieved before the change can happen and even after it has taken effect. From gathering the information to understand the change needed to the follow up after it has been implemented and the observation of its results; these are all important factors when making changes. Completing these tasks are often necessary to ensure that any changes made provide a successful impact on the organization and help to improve the organizations overall performance and culture.
CCL. (2020). How to Be a Successful Change Leader. Retrieved from Center for Creative Leadership: https://www.ccl.org/articles/leading-effectively-articles/successful-change-leader/
Cherry, K. (2019, November 27). The 6 Stages of Behavior Change. Retrieved from Very Well Mind: https://www.verywellmind.com/the-stages-of-change-2794868
CMOE. (2020). 6 Steps Toward Implementing Change in an Organization. Retrieved from Center for Management & Organization Effectiveness: https://cmoe.com/blog/six-steps-to-change-in-organization/
courtney, F. (2016, June). 6 Steps to Effective Organizational Change Management. Retrieved from pulselearning.com: https://www.pulselearning.com/blog/6-steps-effective-organizational-change-management/
Harvard. (2012, March). Why Behavior Change is Hard and Why You Should Keep Trying. Retrieved from Harvard Health Publishing: https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/why-behavior-change-is-hard-and-why-you-should-keep-trying
SHRM. (n.d.). Managing Organizational Change. Retrieved from shrm.org: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/toolkits/pages/managingorganizationalchange.aspx
Webb, D. (2019, April 18). The Five Stages of Successful Behavior Change. Retrieved from Cecelia Health: https://www.ceceliahealth.com/blog/2016/1/20/the-five-stages-to-successful-behavior-change