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CHANGE: for better or for worse?
It inspires envy or fear. Alternately hailed or denigrated. It is in the air of time. He is permanent. Change ! And nobody escapes him …
Change is everywhere. Demographic change, economic change, political change, climate change. Fancy ? “Change has always existed. Only today it is faster. The intensity of competition has increased considerably and is itself a reflection of our level of demand as a consumer. It’s sort of the currency of our play “, summarizes Etienne Bufquin, director of human support for transformations at HR Valley.
But by the way, what is change? To believe the aficionados of positivism, it would be above all opportunities, for the better. For others more cautious, it would start from the certain for the uncertain. “There are two forces that drive us to change: envy and fear,” says Victoria Doebbel, Nexum’s Change Management and Leadership Consultant. In a business, driving change is about balancing these two feelings. The key to success? A question of method to believe the specialists who generally distinguish two phases in the change: inspiration and conduct. “Inspiring change is the responsibility of the leader who must give vision and inspire the desire to change. It’s at this point that you have to explain why and where you’re going, says Doebbel. The conduct consists of determining the procedure; it’s the answer to ‘how?’ This would be the most complex phase to manage and the reason why only 30% of business plans driven by Global Top 500 companies succeed.
The three faces of change
Insiders list three types of change. The change of crisis, the “reactive” and the “creative”. The easiest to manage is, curiously, the one generated by a crisis – question of survival. As a general rule, when there is danger, individuals understand the need to change and stand in solidarity with the common enemy. Same case for the change called reactive or corrective – the latter is easily managed. It is in fact a natural and perpetual process, appropriate to the evolution of any organization which consists in evaluating strengths and weaknesses, in making a diagnosis and in correcting. The most difficult is undoubtedly the change called “creative”. In this case, the why is never very clear. “Why change something that theoretically works well? ” “Why reinvent the wheel? Are all questions that plague individuals. “The exercise is about creating a need that everyone sees as desirable and therefore better,” says Doebbel.
A play in three acts
To decipher the famous Kübler Ross curve (see box), the chronicle of an ordinary change takes place in three stages. First act, the phase of mourning. At this level, reactions can range from anger to outright negation of what has happened. It is a period of doubt during which individuals tend to idealize the past.
Second act: the so-called “wild” phase. In companies, there is often at this stage a persistence of structures and old modes of operation in parallel with new ones. This phase is unclear, conducive to individual depressions. The organization loses efficiency. This is undoubtedly the most critical step.
Third act: acceptance. It is at this stage that opportunities are finally considered. “But watch out for complacency. Nothing should be taken for granted. Constant questioning is essential for the survival of the company, as a kind of crazy guard, “warns Victoria Doebbel.
Tell me how you resist …
Escape, struggle or withdrawal are the three individual responses to change. (In this regard, test your fitness for change in this issue!). The escape is an attitude specific to people with a strong need for security.
The fight hides a need for respect.
The withdrawal, finally, expresses the fear, that of the loss in the absolute. “I would tend to think that it is ultimately the need for respect that most explains the resistance to change. In the banking and insurance sectors, people generally have security. They are more in a context of claim because they need respect, “says Etienne Bufquin.
What of the irreducible? Those who are said to never change? Two bell sounds. “In the case of employees with less hierarchical influence, we can let them do so in accordance with the principle of positive confrontation which, in a process of change, is an excellent safeguard. Employees who hold a high position in the organization are, in principle, more dangerous. Three possibilities: they must let go, shut up or leave, “said Victoria Doebbel.
“Without reaching this type of end, the best way to reduce resistance is to demonstrate consistency and authenticity, transparency and exemplarity on the part of managers – the condition sine qua non to credibility” says Luc de Jaeger, head of Dexia Corporate University.
The usefulness of change
Basically, is change necessary for the company? Everything depends. Change can not be an end but a means. It would be useful only if it “contributes to a better success and a greater satisfaction and if it participates in a more favorable evolution”, summarizes the psychologist Francoise Kourilsky-Belliard in her book From desire to pleasure to change, because, to change to change is still a way of not changing anything. ” To meditate.