South-Western - Management  
How to Lead Teams Through Change
Topic Technology, Innovation and Change
Key Words Restructuring, communication, change
News Story

Organizational restructuring is one of business' inevitabilities. Yet, this type of sweeping change can be very difficult to implement. Studies show that 60 percent of all major corporate change programs fail, often because the important people issues are overlooked. Ultimately, the success of any restructure rests with the companies' managers' abilities to adequately prepare, motivate, and involve their teams in the changes. According to HR Consultant firm Penna's director of strategic development, Bill McCarthy, the following steps are essential for success:

  1. Communicate with care: paint a convincing picture of the benefits you hope to achieve.
  2. Communicate throughout the entire process: keep your team as informed as possible.
  3. Offer involvement and support: actively seek the team's input as much as possible.
  4. Develop strategies for dealing with different reactions to change: provide information to the disoriented, and try to reassure those clinging to the past that there is relevance there and lessons can be taken forward.
  5. Provide evaluation and feedback: monitor progress by assessing the team's attitude throughout the change.

According to McCarthy, the five most important things to remember are:
  1. Have a clear strategy and objectives.
  2. Get the communication right.
  3. Reassure the team and give them time to adjust.
  4. Develop your own coping strategies.
  5. Regularly evaluate the progress of the restructure.

McCarthy further states that dealing with a personal response can be the most important, and difficult, task for a team leader. People tend to follow a leader's emotional example. If the leader is feeling unsettled by the restructuring, it can be difficult for the leader to help others through the transition. Leaders should encourage group formation to help people conquer the fear of change and to reestablish their membership as part of a cohesive group.

Questions
1.

What are five things managers must do, according to this article, in order to be successful in times of change?

2.

This article focuses on the positive things managers can do to succeed during times of change or restructuring. What are some mistakes managers make when leading change? Refer to your text for help with this question.

Source "How to Lead Teams Through Change," Personnel Today, Oct. 19, 2004, p.37.
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