Bringing Practitioner-Focused Research to People Management Practitioners
In This Issue…
The Tough Work of Managing Change
The Who of Change
Flashback Feature: Telecommunting: A Trend Towards the Hoffice
The Tough Work of Managing Change Dr. Carol A. Beatty, Queen's IRC
The literature on change management contains a lot of advice about formulating a change idea and planning it at a high level but much less on how to implement the idea once it has been created. For example, although strategy implementation is viewed as an integral part of the strategic management process, little has been written or researched on it. Likewise, in the public sector there is a great deal of advice on how to formulate public policy, and many academic courses teach this. But try to find a course or a book on getting that policy implemented successfully, and you will find very little. Why should this be so? I believe that implementing a change is a lot tougher than planning it because you actually have to deal with people instead of just things and concepts. Concepts do not resist or argue back. But this is not accepted wisdom. Senior leaders often believe that a great change idea should be easy to implement, that anyone can do it. So it is less glamorous and attracts fewer accolades.
Top management often backs the implementation effort in words but not in actions. When that happens, implementation problems occur that have not been anticipated or expected. For example, in one study the following implementation problems occurred in over half of the firms studied during their implementation efforts.
The Who of Change Dr. Carol A. Beatty, Queen's IRC
Two groups are crucial to any change project: planners and implementers. The planners, typically more senior than the implementers, must answer some important questions before they hand over the initiative for implementation. When these questions are not dealt with adequately, the initiative can get off to a shaky start.
In this paper, I will give you those key questions and also advice for overcoming what I call the "iron curtain between planning and implementation." Implementers have the more difficult task of the two groups. Until implementation begins, the change initiative is only an idea. The transition structure for implementation should definitely include a skilled change champion, but a steering committee, an executive sponsor and implementation teams are also associated with a successful change project. The tasks of implementation are numerous—communicating, scheduling, assigning responsibilities, thinking about details, dealing with resistance, assessing progress and so forth—and so getting the right people with the right skills focusing on the tasks of implementation is very important. Some of this work is easy, some hard and some tough.
This paper will highlight the tough work that you should not avoid. Plus, the skills and task lists will help you manage your transition structure wisely.
Flashback Feature: Telecommunting: A Trend Towards the Hoffice* Liza A. Provenzano, 1994
Although telecommuting—defined here as working at home using electronic communications technology linked to the employer's central office—has been under way in Canadian organizations to varying degrees for some time, it is only in the last few years that it has been formally implemented in some Canadian companies. There is every indication that telecommuting will become much more prevalent in North America during the next ten years. Although there are many advantages for both employer and employee, there are also many potential pitfalls. Not all jobs and not all employees are suitable. Based on a study of telecommuting at Bell Canada and IBM Canada, this paper identifies the types of jobs and employees which are suitable and the advantages and disadvantages for the employer and employee. In this paper from 1994, the author identifies important strategies which will help a telecommuting program to succeed.
* Hoffice is a term used by futurist Faith Popcorn to refer to an office in a home.