Best approach to change management

Posted by: KSG-admin Post Date: June 27, 2020

Best approach to change management

Tasked to share how best a change process should be approached, Mr. John Napoo said that for an organization to successfully manage a change process without destroying staff motivation and commitment, a good approach is paramount.

He cited that the best approach includes a series of steps such as assessing the change and identifying opportunities as well as aligning change vision and strategy.

“There is need to simplify roles, and prioritize action, develop implementation and communication plan, implement change by taking action and effectively communicating to the affected, coach the affected, facilitate for results, and deal with points of weakness and resistance.”

According to Mr. Napoo, it is important to recognize results and sustain change by incorporating learning and results, and conducting evaluation.

Indeed, Mrs. Vera Obonyo could not agree more. She emphasizes the importance of communicating to staff early about the need for change to reduce any fears they may have in regard to the change process.

“Communication channels need to be open for constant engagement. It is important to involve staff in the change process as well. Let them see the benefits of the impending change and empower them to handle the change,” says Mrs. Obonyo.

On his side, Mr. Andrew Rori is convinced that the success of a change process relies heavily on the level of planning, strategy – especially communication, transparency, involvement, encouragement, openness, commitment, top leadership support, and discipline.

“A higher level of these elements lead to successful change implementation and vice-versa. If approached from this perspective, change process will be easy, and acceptable, and as such help move staff beyond fear, as fear is a powerful motivator that can harden staff intent to resist an organization effort to implement change,” says Mr. Rori.

The need to effectively communicate a change process is even emphasized by Dr. Florence Kithinji who proposes that it must be done incrementally.

“A lot of communication, mentorship, and handholding is very critical. Involve everyone, expect resistance but work with the early adopters. Find out who the ring leaders of the resistance are and give them a chance to explain why they are resisting,“ she posits.

Her proposal is that a change process needs to be seen as a project. She calls on those involved to always celebrate the wins, learn fast, and adopt.

Mr. Charles Onkundi looks at the whole change process from a wider spectrum and argues that there is no known single strategy that is panacea to managing change process effectively.

Nevertheless, he posits that effective change management strategies must take into account stakeholder interests, staff competencies in driving change, the best communication approaches applicable in the change management process, the predictability of change in terms of its outcomes, and the change control mechanisms.

“Change is best addressed when it is more inclusive. It is critical that staffs at all levels are informed and brought on board to drive the intended changes,” Mr. Onkundi says.

He routes for the need to control the change process, terming it critical for success of the initiative.

“Control is made possible by establishing a strong monitoring and evaluation culture in the organization. With effective monitoring and evaluation systems in place, managers are able to tell and institute corrective measures when things are getting out of hand,” explains Mr. Onkundi.

He says a smooth change process needs to factor in the cost effectiveness, creativity, and resources to drive changes, consistency, and determination to succeed. He calls upon those involved in the process to consistently pay attention to expectations and attitude of the stake holders.

Dr. Fredrick Mukabi’s view is that those managing the change process need to work on and explore how to adjust to business processes to suit the new normal.

He shares McKinsey’s 7s Model of change that focuses on Strategy, Structure, Systems, Shared Values, Staff, Skills and Style, saying it may guide in any envisaged change process. He singles out the School, noting that it may consider changes in the current financing and expenditure model.

“The pandemic and the accompanying restrictions have compelled us to do a revenue source audit. It now grants us the opportunity to audit our expenditure and address any pilferage challenges,” he says.

Dr. Mukabi proposes the establishment of new revenue sources outside the School core mandate that could supplement our revenue like the creation of retreat centres at Matuga and Baringo campuses, expanding the water bottling plant in Baringo and Mombasa campuses, and probably establishing a bakery in Embu Campus.

According to him this is besides the adoption of virtual meetings through webinars in mounting cost effective symposia and conferences and rolling out online training programs.

“An upgrade in technology will be a game changer. The Working from Home (WFH) business model may also be exploited to maximize output from staff that may be unable to be on duty for whichever reasons,” he says.

Dr. Mukabi proposes that the School could embrace Potter’s Model of change by focusing on urgency in the School business priority list, building innovative teams such as research teams and think tanks, enhancing change communication through the Weekly Bulletin, celebrating short term wins as a culture, developing business resilience in the face of competition from universities and institutionalizing the changes to embrace a new normal.

In the overall, the School Deputy Directors concur on the need for organizational culture change. They argue that this is inevitable considering that some of the proposed changes may not be effectively realized without an appropriate culture in place.

Further, they note, the culture change may be gradual and could meet some resistance but the strategy in implementing culture change will be a major determinant.