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Managing Change

I agree that businesses should take a proactive approach in managing change but what are some guidelines for change management? Are there any publications you would recommend to a company who just formally created a Change Manager position?

Anonymous Submission November, 2005 : Posted with consent

Actually if I were to recommend reading material for managing change I would have to say "Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change" by William Bridges (1991). This very well may be the most referenced publication on change management and with good reason. This book really opened my eyes years ago when I first read it. Bridges does a great job of outlining necessary steps in managing change. The 4P's1 he described in managing transitions really has paid off for many organizations. They are as follows:

  • Explain the Purpose
  • Plan the change
  • Paint a Picture
  • Give everyone a role to Play

I won't go into details but even the general idea is a great outline for managing change. I do recommend that you read through this book and pay close attention to the 4P's and three phases of change. He described three phases:

  • Ending
  • Neutral Zone
  • New Beginning

It is interesting how he describes these three phases, discusses the difficulties, and provides strategies for working through each phase. What I have found is that the "ending" is one of the biggest challenges for most organization. Many are not willing to mark an end to previous methods. Many people cling to old methods and are afraid to let go. They hate to let go of that which is familiar. However, if they do not officially mark the end of previous methods they are less likely to successfully make a transition. It is too tempting to revert to old methods.

For a firm that is serious about change I would highly recommend this book, not only for your Change Manager either. The more familiar the entire organization is with these methods the better your chances of making significant change with little resistance. Much of our change management training programs are based on this publication.

Great question! Thank you.

Page 1 of Change Management | Page 2 of Change Management

For assistance in developing a proactive and effective approach to change management feel free to contact us.

1Bridges, W., (1991), Managing Transitions: Making the most of change. Reading, MA, Addision-Wesley Publishing Company

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