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Managing Change

Managing Change is demonstrating support for organizational changes needed to improve the organization's effectiveness; supporting, initiating, sponsoring, and implementing organizational change; helping others to successfully manage organizational change.
An employee demonstrating this competency:
  • Works cooperatively with others to produce innovative solutions
  • Takes the lead or supports setting new business directions, partnerships, policies or procedures
  • Seizes opportunities to influence the future direction of an organizational unit or the overall business
  • Helps people to develop a clear understanding of what they will need to do differently, as a result of changes in the organization
  • Implements or supports various change management activities (e.g., communications, education, team development, coaching)
  • Establishes or supports structures and processes to plan and manage the orderly implementation of change
  • Helps individuals and groups manage the anxiety associated with significant change
  • Facilitates groups or teams through the problem solving and creative thinking processes leading to the development and implementation of new approaches, systems, structures and methods
Importance of this Competency
Managing change means identifying what an organizational unit needs to do differently in the future and developing and implementing plans for change. This competency is important because most organizations need significant, ongoing change - in structure, work processes, procedures, and styles of management. To remain competitive, organizations need many people with the drive and skill to identify and implement these changes.

Without this competency, organizations will either fail to implement changes or implement them poorly, with loss of productivity and employee morale.
General Considerations in Developing this Competency
Part of what is needed to develop this competency is a new attitude about your role: an attitude that emphasizes taking initiative, demonstrating a sense of urgency, persisting in the face of resistance, and refusing to accept the status quo.

In addition to a change in attitude, this competency also requires developing some knowledge and skill in the processes and tools of organizational change. The best way to acquire this knowledge and skill is by participating in an organizational change process led by a skilled leader or consultant. If possible, ask an internal or external consultant to guide your team through the process of change and to teach some of the techniques and tools.

Since this is not always possible, you may need to use other methods. You may be able to take a course on change management offered by an internal or external consultant. You can learn some of the tools for change by reading some of the references in this section. You can also learn by doing: planning and implementing a change, reflecting on what has worked effectively and less effectively, and planning next steps accordingly.

This competency builds on many other competencies, such as Fostering Teamwork, Empowering Others, Establishing Focus, Providing Motivational Support, Interpersonal Effectiveness, Influencing Others, and Persuasive Communication. If you are also working on one of these competencies, you will learn techniques that can be applied in Fostering Innovation.
Practicing this Competency
  • Organize a team to identify new directions or procedures for your unit.
  • Volunteer to serve on a team charting change for a larger part of the organization than your unit.
  • Organize a meeting of the people in your unit to discuss and clarify what they will need to do differently, as a result of changes in the organization.
  • Try out a team problem solving or decision making process that you have read or heard about with a team on which you are a member.
Obtaining Feedback
Each time you try out a new change management process (e.g., for planning, team decision making, team problem solving) hold a session with the team to discuss what went well and what could be done differently and better in the future.
Learning from Experts
Volunteer to serve on a cross-functional team charged with implementing change. Observe what the team leader does and keep of list of ideas to apply in your own unit.

Interview someone who has successfully led an organizational unit through change. Consider people outside of your own organization, as well as people within it. Ask the person to walk you through the process he/she led. Find out how the person approached this situation and what he/she specifically did. Ask about problems that were encountered and how they were addressed.
Coaching Suggestions for Managers
If you are coaching someone who is trying to develop the compentency, you can:
  • Assign the person to work on a team headed by a consultant or internal leader who is skilled in change management.
  • Help the person develop a plan for working with his/her unit to implement change.
  • Think through the resources and support this person will need. Try to anticipate and develop contingency plans for problems that may be encountered.
  • Make yourself available on a regular basis to discuss how the change management efforts are progressing.
Sample Development Goals
By March 15, I will hold a meeting with the staff in my unit, to review the overall direction of the division and identify what our unit needs to do differently to implement this direction and to develop a plan for change.

By April 10, I will identify a new group problem solving method and try it out in my unit.

By May 1, I will read Corporate Transformation, by Kilmann and Covin and develop a list of ideas to try out in my unit.


A Sense of Urgency, by John P. Kotter. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press, 2008.

Beyond the Quick Fix: Managing Five Tracks to Organizational Success, by Ralph H. Kilmann. Beard Books, 2003.

Creating Paths of Change: Managing Issues and Resolving Problems in Organizations, by Will McWhinney, Douglas M. Smith, & James B. Webber. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 1997.

Making Change Stick: Twelve Principles for Transforming Organizations, by Richard C. Reale. Park Ridge, NJ: Positive Impact Associates, Inc., 2005.

Managing Organizational Change, 2nd Edition, by Bill Leban. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2007.

Managing Organizational Change: A Multiple Perspectives Approach, 2nd Edition by Ian Palmer, Richard Dunford, & Gib Akin. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill/Irwin, 2008.

Reengineering the Corporation: A Manifesto for Business Revolution, by Michael Hammer & James Champy. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 2003.

Re-energizing the Corporation: How Leaders Make Change Happen,
by Jonas Ridderstrale and Mark Wilcox. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2008.

The Leadership Challenge, 4th Edition by J. M. Kouzes & Barry Z. Posner. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2008.

Understanding Organizational Change: The Contemporary Experience of People at Work, by Patrick M B Dawson. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc., 2003.



Planning and Managing Change. Book Format. American Management Association. Tel. 800 250-5308 http://www.amaselfstudy.org/course.cfm?isbn=9780761214502&page=TOC

Effective Tools for Initiating and Sustaining Change in Organizations. Webinar Archive Format. NTL. http://breeze.uliveandlearn.com/p44659290/ 


Facilitating Organizational Change. Two days. UA Consulting & Training Services. Tel. 520 322-6700.  http://www.universityassociates.com/FOCFull.html

Leading Organization Change. Three days. NTL Institute. Tel. 800 777-5227. www.ntl.org

Leading Individual and Organizational Change. Three days. U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).


 Planning and Managing Organizational Change. Two days. American Management Association. Tel. 877 566-9441. www.amanet.org/seminars/seminar.cfm?basesemno=8590


See Appendix