Choosing Strategies for Change by John P. Kotter and Leonard A. Schlesinger

Article / Change and Organization


Choosing Strategies for Change by John P. Kotter and Leonard A. Schlesinger
Anna Wilson , Student (University)

Managers can alter the tempo of their change to the situation through strategically diagnosing each staff member’s resistance using Kotter’s and Schlesinger’s strategic continuum to analyze situational factors to decide how quickly or slowly their change should proceed.


Coping with fierce business rivals and vast technological innovations, corporations and managers make changes to improve services and increase profits. However many organizational changes may not work if managers do not implement them with careful consideration. It is important for managers to consider all of the elements of resistance that may flow through their employees’ minds to ensure that they receive the support, training and reassurance required to make smooth transitions with changes. In order to involve employees “in the design of the initiative” they must have all the information required to adjust to the proposed changes. Managers can alter the tempo of their change to the situation through strategically diagnosing each staff member’s resistance using Kotter’s and Schlesinger’s strategic continuum to analyze situational factors to decide how quickly or slowly their change should proceed. The following key points rang true for me:
4 Most Common Reasons People Resist Change:
1. A desire not to lose something of value - Parochial Self-Interest, Politics
2. A misunderstanding of the change and its implications – Misunderstanding, Distrust
3. A belief that the change does not make sense for the organization – Different Assessments
4. A low tolerance for change

A manager can improve his chance of success in an organizational change effort by:
1. Conducting an organizational analysis that identifies the current situation, problems, and the forces that are possible causes of those problems.
2. Conducting an analysis of factors relevant to producing the needed changes.
3. Selecting a change strategy, based on the previous analysis, that specifies:
- the speed of change
- the amount of preplanning
- the degree of involvement of staff
- that selects specific tactics for use with staff
- that is internally consistent.
4. Monitoring the implementation process.

My school Principal told me I had to move my grade 5 class to a new classroom immediately in an outside trailer in December. He did not give me anytime to ask questions or any reasons. I later found out from the high school teacher that he wanted the high school students in the school because many of them were skipping class and he wanted to keep an eye on them. No one helped me move my students desks and supplies out to the trailer. I had asked the other teachers for help and they just ignored me. This was an example of being coerced into a change without any preparation or proper support. Many of my students were angry with me and I tried very hard to validate their feelings without criticizing the principal. It was a difficult process and I promised myself that if I was ever in a management position I would never do this to anyone. I should have been given more time to make the move and help of the staff. This was a change that needed Kotter’s and Schlesinger’s strategic continuum to analyze situational factors to decide on the speed of change and the number of staff members required to make the change successful.
References
Kotter, J. P. And Schlesinger, L. A. (2008) Choosing Strategies for Change, Harvard Business Review, July-August 2008, 1 – 13.

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