Linda Nash

Linda Nash

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Eight Keys for Managing Organizational Change

Change is an ongoing process. Incremental changes aren't so bothersome but sudden, abrupt, unwanted, or massive change can leave even the most seasoned professional stunned and confused. There are many components to managing change. The eight below will help you get started in the right direction.

1.  Change yourself first. If you are a supervisor, manager, or leader at any level, don't expect others to respond positively to change until you model change yourself. Words aren't enough - take action.

2.  Explain the why. Why is the change occurring? Is it economic conditions, realignment, a merger - what? People deal better with the "how" when they understand the "why."

3.  Tell the truth. Don't compromise your integrity or the trust of your co-workers or employees. If you do and get caught (you can count on it) your credibility is worthless to these people forever.

4.  Be a good listener. Change causes unrest and fear. If people can't talk about their concerns they will burn so much energy suppressing their feelings or going underground and presenting a happy face to you that productivity and quality will suffer.

5.  Tell people about outcomes. What will ultimately result because of the change? Will the organization be more secure, more profitable, keep from going belly up, have a greater market share, better customer service, or greater safety? And, what's in it for the individuals who stick it out?

6.  Clarify expectations. What can be let go? What needs to be added or created? What is your part and what is theirs? Without clear direction the tendency is to lay low during changes. An organization can't afford it. This is a time you need risk taking, creativity, and innovation.

7.  Set short-term goals that provide short-term successes. Letting go is difficult. A bad known feels much safer than an unknown possibility. One small success helps get to the next, possibly larger, one.

8.  Be supportive. An extra pat on the back, a thank you note, or an encouraging word can help people get through difficult setbacks or changes. Having someone who believes in you and you can count on when the going gets rough makes all the difference.

There are many other things to consider in managing organizational change. Get these eight right and you're well on your way to a successful transition with minimal stress, angst, and lost productivity.

Doing things right is important but doing the right things is imperative.

Linda Nash 2002
Linda Nash is a nationally recognized consultant, speaker and author in the areas of change and resilience. To receive her free E-zine Bouncing Back go to  To contact Linda call
314.872.8787 or e-mail

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Copyright 2000 by Linda Nash. All rights reserved. You may not reproduce this material without explicit prior written permission.