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Tese tools help organisations to assess the strategic pressures, and to weigh up how best to respond.

Organisational agility

Traditional approaches to change management focus on defining an ‘end state’ and planning how to engage stakeholders to achieve and embed it. Tis is based on Kurt Lewin’s Unfreeze – Change – Refreeze paradigm, and is appropriate for straightforward, mechanistic changes. However, organisational change

is often complex, making it hard to define a clear ‘end state’ to refreeze. Also, in fast-evolving situations, the precise desired end state may change during the transformation process – it’s like trying to hit a moving target!

As a result, change management has learnt from colleagues in project and programme management to apply more ‘agile’ approaches. Tese move away from one

centralised masterplan, set out from the beginning and having a defined end point. Instead, an overall direction is agreed and explicit change plans are developed for the first few weeks or months, with change planned in components or tranches. As progress is made, further change plans are developed to maintain progress in the desired direction. In this way it is possible both to maintain engagement with near-term plans and to keep overall direction under review. Importantly, the change team is

able continuously to re-evaluate the key elements of change which deliver the greatest organisational value.

Tey can choose to reprioritise work as necessary to achieve key deadlines and deliver maximum benefit.

The skills of leading change

Leading change effectively requires a wide-ranging approach and specific skills and capabilities. What is required is a blend of what are traditionally seen as ‘hard’ and ‘soft’ skills. Hard skills include developing strategy, project management, planning and evaluating. Soft

skills include, for example: ` `

` ` `` `` `` ``

Communication skills (including active listening) to build and main- tain trust, confidence and morale.

Giving feedback and providing development and coaching.

Strategies and skills of stakeholder politics and influence.

Building resilience, dealing with stress and fear of the unknown as a response to change.

Recognising how feelings and attitudes change over time.

Te skills of recognising and addressing resistance.

Research by one of the authors2 has

concluded that a wide range of skills is needed, varying at different stages in the change process. A skilful and strategic approach must embrace all aspects of change, from initiation through to implementation. Based on our analysis of compa- nies undergoing long-term change,

the top skill areas involved are: ` `

Leadership skills.

`` ``

`` Political and stakeholder skills.

Managerial and imple- mentation skills.

Developing skills and commitment.

Leadership skills Effective leadership of change is founded on effective leadership through every sphere of life. As leaders are a catalyst and role model for change, self-awareness is an important first step in creating the right environment. Maintaining trust is an essential

leadership skill which is particu- larly critical in times of change. Less-than-wholehearted commitment to new directions quickly destroys trust, and unless the cynical and apathetic are genuinely won over,

32 | December 2016 | @TrainingJournal

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