Leading Change

Based upon our more than 35 years of research and experience, it is clear that one of the competencies required for building sustainably successful organizations is the ability to adapt to change.  Management System has done extensive research on the nature of and requirements for successfully leading the change process. Eric Flamholtz’s and Yvonne Randle’s book, Leading Strategic Change, provides an in-depth description of our model which is summarized briefly below. 

The Management Systems’ Phases of Change Model:

The Managment Systems' Phase of Change Model proposes that change occurs in four phases: 

Phase 1 – Planning.  

The Template used for Planning Change is the Pyramid of Organizational Development™.  The Pyramid framework is used:

  • to assess where the organization is (i.e., its strengths and opportunities to improve);
  • to identify what changes need to be made to internal systems, processes, structures, etc. to enhance effectiveness and efficiency; and 
  • as the underlying framework for developing a Strategic Plan (or more tactical or project plans) that describes the changes that need to be made and the steps that will be  taken to achieve the desired “new” state (i.e., changed organization).

In brief, this plan should define what the overall goal of the change process is, identify specific action steps that will be taken to achieve this goal, and identify who is responsible for completing each step.

Phase 2 – Getting Started.

This involves beginning to implement the change management plan.  Simply having a plan is not enough.  For the change to become a reality, those involved in the change process need to begin working to complete their “action steps.”  The leader of the change process needs to create enthusiasm for the change and hold people accountable for results.

Phase 3 – Letting Go.

This is the most difficult phase in the change process because it is where the organization, team, and/or individual must “give up” the old ways of doing things and embrace the new ways of doing things that represent the change.  Leaders need to recognize that this is a very “emotionally-loaded” phase and that these emotions need to be managed as a part of the change process.  It is in this phase that strategies for managing resistance to change become very important.  Leaders need to identify the sources of resistance and manage them as a part of the overall change management plan. 

Phase 4 – Completion.  

A change is completed when the goal of the change process (identified in Phase 1) has been achieved.  In brief, Phase 4 occurs when the organization, team, or individual has moved to the “new state” and that state is now the norm.For an organization to have the highest probability of success in moving through these four phases, it needs to have an effective Leadership Molecule in place – where executive leadership is focused on Vision, Culture, Systems, Operations, and Change Management.