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Any changes no anally have to overcome a certain resistance from the organization's personnel. The major causes for the reluctance of personnel to endorse change include:

■ Traditional thinking—"If something works, don't change it."

■ Lack of understanding of why a change is needed in the first place.

■ Lack of belief in successful change—especially if such efforts have been undertaken and failed in the past.

■ Conscious opposition to change based on the knowledge that it can hurt them.

■ General indifference.

In order to combat the resistance, it is important to remember how difficult it may be to implement the best-planned change event because of the resistance of the personnel involved.

The other important activities that have to be undertaken in order to reduce stress and increase appreciation of change include:

■ Informing: Telling everybody what is going to be changed and why it is necessary.

■ Increasing Interest: Explaining how the things that will be changed will be better, personally, for each employee.

■ Comforting: Explaining that the changes will not hurt—at least not those employees who are really interested in the company's work.

■ Acting from Inside: Finding and supporting the change advocates at all levels of the organization.

■ Providing Support: Finding and supporting the leaders who are ready for change—formal as well as informal, indicating the leaders who may act against it and neutralizing them by either moving them or blocking their actions.

The change process does not happen at once. It normally has four phases:

1. Passive Resistance. When people act as if they are "thunderstruck," it is often seen as no reaction at all to the change event to come and can be wrongly interpreted by management as no resistance. If, due to this misunderstood impression on the part of management, no information nor explanation is communicated to the people, the first phase is quickly changed to the second.

2. Active Resistance. When people realize that the changes have started, they enter a stress condition characterized by strong feelings of fear, threat, and anger. This is very often a failure spot for changes; therefore the management reaction should be very careful and include lots of explanations and seem like forcing.

3. Understanding. Once the second phase is past, people start entering the third phase of understanding. This is when the employees start understanding the nature of the change, its necessity, and its positive impacts. The level of stress decreases and the stress changes to a less dangerous type. It is important for management to move into explanations of everyone's roles and functions in the change process and the new structure.

4. Acceptance. If phase three is carried out correctly, the last phase of acceptance follows. The new process is understood and endorsed with major resisting forces either changing their minds or being removed. It is important to remember that this is the stage at which the new values of an organization are formed and accepted.

Any organizational change is related to the transformation of the company's organizational structure.

The scope of this transformation has to be carefully planned in advance regardless of the fact that some details can actually be planned and introduced on the way.

The process of forming the vision of a new organization is called organizational planning.

The goals and objectives of organizational planning are:

■ To set up the scope of transition in the organizational sphere

■ To get the organization into a position of primary correspondence to the company's new strategy

■ To determine responsibilities, accountability, and reporting structure

■ To provide liaison and efficient coordination between departments/divisions

■ To formulate new job descriptions

Organizational planning is to be carried out in the following major spheres:

■ Structure: Functions, processes, work groups, hierarchy levels, personnel structure, and accountability

■ Decision-Making and Responsibilities: The processes of making key decisions, governing principles, and responsibilities

■ Roles, Assumptions, and Job Functions: Key organizational roles, distributing responsibilities for implementing groups of work, and determining tasks correspondent to work functions

■ Planning Working Groups/Divisions: Determining related tasks and resources needed for organizational functioning

■ Setting Up Result Indicators: Development of and monitoring success indicators for personnel, groups, divisions, and business as a whole

■ Development Mechanisms: Mechanisms for developing personnel, technical sphere, management systems, etc.

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