There is no way to hide it—the printing industry is struggling. With Kodak filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and manroland experiencing its own, we are seeing more and more key players undergoing major structural adjustment. At the commercial printing level, many companies are reassessing current business models and rethinking production operations to gain greater efficiency.
What both situations greatly call for is the uncomfortable issue of change. At RIT, I am currently taking an Organizational Behavior course for my business administration minor. This course has provided valuable insight into the reality of managing and leading an organization. In order to effectively manage and embrace change in the workforce, one must look into human behavior at the individual, group and organizational level.
I would like to welcome my professor Dr. Delmonize “Del” Smith to my blog this week. President and CEO of D.A. Smith and Associates and honoree of Rochester’s Forty Under 40 award, Dr. Smith brings a wealth of information to teaching the next generation of business leaders. Whether you’re a CEO, supervisor or working on the shop floor, we’re here to share how to effectively reduce the resistance to change in order to promote growth in an organization. Welcome, Dr. Smith.Fundamentally, what is it about change that leads to so much resistance within people?Dr. Smith
: At its most fundamental level, resistance to change is hard wired into our genetic makeup. As a species, slow changes in our surroundings can be countered with an evolutionary response, but sudden and significant change threatens our very survival. Are there any potential changes that an organization can afford to ignore?Dr. Smith
: Organizations can’t afford to totally ignore change. However, change that results in a greater fit with the existing organization would not require a significant response. An example that comes to mind is a healthcare company that conducts highly sensitive test on patients. The company already had significant patient privacy policies and procedures in place, so the introduction of far-reaching Healthcare Information Privacy laws would not require major change. In your management consulting firm, what’s the most common stumbling block encountered by companies attempting to implement change?Dr. Smith
: Companies have become sophisticated enough to understand they must have a change management plan in place any time that they are implementing significant change in their organization. However, most companies spend more time on the process and technology associated with the change, while paying less attention to the “people” aspects. How do managers become successful at implementing changes for their employees?Dr. Smith
: Communication really is the key. Managers who can communicate the reasons for the change, what the change will entail, and what the change will ultimately mean to the employee will be more successful in minimizing resistance caused by fear and uncertainty. What type of change within a business tends to be more problematic than others?Dr. Smith
: There is a direct correlation between the scope of change and the problems businesses encounter as they attempt to manage the change. In other words, change resulting in a very different operating environment and involving many resources (e.g., people, time, money) has the greatest tendency to cause problems. The change-management process should take into account the scope of change, if these challenges are to be mitigated successfully. Once you embed change into the culture of the organization, how do you make it stick?Dr. Smith
: After a significant change, organizations must identify ways to incentivize employees to adopt and sustain the change. These organizations must also create mechanisms to discourage employees from following their tendency to use old behaviors or processes.
For example, the organization may recognize employees who successfully utilize a new process, while at the same time writing up employees who fail to follow the new process. When at all possible, organizations should remove the ability to utilize the old process (e.g., delete all copies of the old form). What major changes have you encountered in the growth of your business and how did you effectively handle them?Dr. Smith
: We recently moved from a business incubator to our own standalone office space. This change involved new processes, such as changing our marketing materials, as well as new technology, such as a security system. However, we also had to manage the “people-related” changes, such as increased expectations associated with our new surroundings and communication challenges with colleagues no longer in the same room. Again, communication was the key to effectively managing this change.Thank you Dr. Smith, for sharing your insight and taking the time to be part of my blog.