Organisations are a complex body of individuals who have varying degrees of readiness to change.
When the conditions are right, a change effort is likely to succeed. When conditions are not right, much effort can be wasted in attempting change.
It is wise for facilitators to pay close attention to readiness conditions for change indicators in order to be aware of positive and negative forces that can enhance or hinder a change effort. It is important for facilitators to understand the conditions of readiness which can either promote or inhibit organisation change.
What are these conditions?
The readiness of organisations is inextricably influenced by the sum of individual readiness characteristics. Whilst we work with groups, as facilitators, it is the individuals who, in fact, really enable change to take place. In developing groups we must pay particular attention to the individuals that make up our task force or committee. This is a critical question for all of us as facilitators. Group processes alone may not always be successful. Some preparatory or ongoing discussions activities will often need to occur with particular stakeholders to ensure a softer transition for change, to make more flexible any people or organisational constraints and to create a more conducive climate in which the staff may grow and learn.
Bell and Wyant, U.S. organisational change researchers suggest a series of conditions that I have found particularly useful in applying as a template across a diversity of organisations and then tweaking to contextualise for local culture.
You will know many other templates.
Change readiness is often a key factor that shows us whether the lights are green to go ahead, amber to wait and work on certain elements or stop and go in a different direction because all systems are red.
CONDITIONS OF READINESS
The press for change
the support for change
the stability of the staff
culture supporting collaboration in groups
skill in collaborative group work
the spirit of risk-taking
The press for change
dissatisfaction with present situation
valuing the proposed change in contrast to what exists
the belief that change is worth it
pressure from key stakeholders
pressure from external markets
business imperatives for greater efficiency and effectiveness
The support for change
the availability of resources within the staff to support the change
the accessibility of resources from outside the organisation
support from decision-makers; and the executive sponsors
The stability of staff
The amount of staff turnover
whether key administrators will be transferring
Culture of collaboration
ground rules and expectations of groups about collaboration;
persevering at group tasks
disclosing personal reactions, worries and feelings
offering help to colleagues; and continuing communication even in emotionally-loaded situations
Skill in collaborative group work
as for Condition 4, but with
a climate which values learning and training
a recognition of and use of strengths in people with a diversity of skills and abilities
good communication skills
collaborative climate of consensus decision making and group problem-solving skills.
The spirit of risk-taking
people's willingness to risk new action on behalf of the organisation
the willingness of key administrators to make appropriate changes in their own behaviour
the staffs willingness to take training in new skills and behaviours
the degree of stress and anxiety that people feel from whatever source
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