September 13, 2009

Change management is resistance management. Most change management programs fail not because people don't see merit in them but because people fear about the impact of change on their lives and put up resistance.

The first and the foremost job of a leader leading a change program is to communicate and generate confidence. There is a catch here. If the communication is focused at the group, chances of eliminating resistance is low. Communication has to be at an individual level to assuage fear, explain the change, its positive impact on the individual, and sell the concept to bring the individual on the board!

Human nature is such that majority of people think about their own welfare before they think about their group or organization. Only when welfare of self is achieved do they think of welfare of others. A leader of a change management program has to keep this in mind. If he wants the change program to succeed, he has to take change management to individual level to win confidence and participation.

Once an individual is convinced about the merits of a change program, not only will he overwhelmingly participate in it but will also sell its virtues to others in his peer group. A positive word of mouth can go a long way in helping a change program succeed. While a negative word of mouth can simply halt it.

The mantra to successfully lead change management is to engage the people at an individual level so that the change actually flows from the bottom up which is owned by the people themselves. Any thing forced is likely to be stalled with even greater force!

September 6, 2009

A couple of weeks ago, I tweeted a satire on the restrictive and regressive Internet policies of many companies. People who have seen the blockbuster movie Deewar would get it.

Company: Mere pass policy hai, access control hai, site blocking capability hai, tere pass kya hai?
Employee: Mere pass GPRS hai!!

I can't help but laugh when I come across Internet policies of companies which aim at blocking access to mail, social networking sites, and other websites. It doesn't work and in future also will never work. I, like many others of my generation, don't need office Internet to browse web, check mails, or indulge in social networking. My PDA phone is good enough to keep me connected to the world through mail, twitter, facebook, orkut, et al.

Today we are shifting towards an era when mobile phone would be the real convergence device for uniting telephony, Internet, and entertainment. Anybody who thinks of blocking access to Internet in this day and age is living in a fool's paradise.

The bigger issue to focus on is building trust at workplace. Days of restrictive policies to induce desired behavior among employees is over. Today we are faced with a generation which is interested in participative culture based on trust and empowerment. This generation doesn't need to be told when to play and when to work. Generally they are responsible enough if trusted with their capability. But the moment you try to control them through restrictive policies, they may just revolt and try to find a way or two to defy the grand policies in place. With the technology and knowledge available, they in all likelihood would succeed. And if they don't, they will quit and move to another company. Either way the loss is of the company.

Instead of investing time and effort in designing regressive policies, it would be much better if companies used same time and energy in making the workplace more trustful, more participative, and full of positive energy.