Queen’s IRC celebrated the launch of Dr. Carol Beatty’s e-book: The Easy, Hard & Tough Work of Managing Change in Toronto on November 25, 2016.
Carol A. Beatty
As the year draws to a close, I would like to take a minute to reflect on the past few months, and to thank the people who have attended our programs and the organizations who have sponsored them. I am so proud of the work we are doing at Queen’s IRC. I encourage you to review the following papers and articles we have released this fall.
Please join Queen’s IRC and Dr. Carol Beatty to celebrate the launch of Dr. Beatty’s e-book: The Easy Hard & Tough Work of Managing Change, on Friday, November 25, 2016 from 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. at St. Andrew’s Club & Conference Centre in Toronto. Dr. Beatty will be discussing her e-book, which is based on over 20 years of her research in change management.
When I first started as an MBA student, I attended the Managing Change MBA course taught by Dr. Carol A. Beatty at Queen’s. During that time Dr. Beatty’s research was focused on collecting data from organizations about successful and unsuccessful change management projects. I am pleased to introduce Carol’s e-book The Easy, Hard & Tough Work of Managing Change.
This free e-book walks you through the change management process, from start to finish. It's based on more than 20 years of Dr. Carol A. Beatty’s research, and identifies not only the easy and hard work in change management, but also the tough work that is often neglected by change leaders, who place too much emphasis on high-level change planning and not enough emphasis on implementation.
When Hunter Harrison joined the recently-privatized Canadian National Railway (CNR) in 1998 as Chief Operating Officer, the company was generally acknowledged as one of the worst railroads in North America, highly indebted, perpetually in the red, and losing market share to the more efficient, flexible and newly deregulated U.S. railway and trucking industries.
Most experts would agree that communication is a vital ingredient in successful change initiatives, and there is much research to support this assertion. My own research revealed a very high correlation between change success and communications efforts (Pearson correlation r = 0.567, significant at the 0.01 level). Furthermore, it has also been shown that ineffective internal communication is a major contributor to the failure of change initiatives.
Dealing with resistance is tough work, but avoiding this work only makes change more difficult. When facing major change, management tends to view the new direction as an opportunity, while employees face the change with feelings of uncertainty, fear and disruption. Furthermore, most change leaders underestimate the amount of resistance they will face. However, as this case shows, external conditions, trust in the organization, and skillful handling of resistance can all contribute to lessening resistance and increasing support for a change initiative.
After you know who will lead a change initiative, why the change is necessary and what future you are trying to create, you come to the “how”—the activities you must plan to implement the change successfully. This is tough work because of the countless details that must be thought through and included in a change rollout plan. Forget something crucial here, and your change may be in jeopardy, as is highlighted in the following case study.
Most experts advocate creating a vision as a necessary step in any change initiative. But managers have a tough time following this advice. Change vision statements are often too long, too confusing or too generic to motivate action in the direction of the change. It's tough to condense the vision into a couple of sentences or paragraphs that sing, but it is worthwhile to try. A clear vision is important for change leaders to think through because it forces you to identify exactly what you are aiming for instead of some vague, fuzzy or rosy picture of the future.
The statistics about the implementation of change in organizations are dismal. For decades now, business writers from all walks of life have been bemoaning the large failure rate of change projects. For example, one study reported that 70 percent of critical change efforts fail to achieve their intended results. Additionally, more executives are fired for mismanaging change than other reasons, such as ignoring customers.
The literature on change management contains a lot of advice about formulating a change idea and planning it at a high level but much less on how to implement the idea once it has been created. For example, although strategy implementation is viewed as an integral part of the strategic management process, little has been written or researched on it. Likewise, in the public sector there is a great deal of advice on how to formulate public policy, and many academic courses teach this.
Two groups are crucial to any change project: planners and implementers. The planners, typically more senior than the implementers, must answer some important questions before they hand over the initiative for implementation. When these questions are not dealt with adequately, the initiative can get off to a shaky start. In this paper, I will give you those key questions and also advice for overcoming what I call the "iron curtain between planning and implementation."
The first thing people want to know when a change is proposed is why this change is necessary. If you don't have a very good answer, then they will not buy into your change initiative. Statistics show that having a good percentage of supporters at the outset of a change initiative is strongly associated with success. This paper addresses how to create the felt need for change and a sense of urgency for the change throughout the organization.
Queen's IRC has interviewed many of our expert facilitators, speakers and staff, in the areas of Labour Relations, Human Resources and Organizational Development. These interviews are now available on our YouTube channel. We encourage you to take the time to check out these videos.
People management professionals are often exhorted to become more knowledgeable about business strategy but many are discouraged by the jargon and the apparent complexity of the field. While it is true that a radical rethink of your organization's strategy involves creativity and specialized skills, most regular strategic planning exercises do not require that level of sophistication.
In this current difficult economic climate, many organizations are facing the unfortunate necessity to downsize and streamline. Astute executives and HR managers, many of whom have been through previous rounds of downsizing, realize that they must approach it carefully because both research and experience have shown that there are many negative consequences to this process. …
Unions often feel uneasy about employee ownership, Dr. Beatty says. But in these cases drawn from her research, they learned to love it, embracing it as a potent strategy for saving jobs, keeping plants open, and building better union-management relationships. Surprising fact: in 2002, unionized workers made up a larger percentage of U.S. employees holding …
Queen’s Industrial Relations Centre Director Carol Beatty sat down with CAW President Buzz Hargrove during his recent visit to campus and discussed developments in the automobile manufacturing sector and the role of his union in addressing major changes in the industry. You mentioned in your Don Wood Lecture here at Queen’s that negotiated agreements with …
What do top leaders want from HR professionals? The following information, drawn from the author’s ongoing research, provides valuable insight into what CEOs think HR managers are doing well and what competencies need developing. In general, the CEOs agreed that their HR departments did a good job in the transactional aspects of their work but …
Employee ownership (EO) usually generates two extreme reactions: EO is the greatest thing since sliced bread, or EO is hopelessly idealistic. Queen’s IRC Director Dr. Carol Beatty spent seven years studying 10 companies with employee ownership and published what she learned in the highly entertaining book, “Employee Ownership: The New Source of Competitive Advantage.” In …
The managers who gathered around the table to plan a large budget cut didn’t look much like a cohesive team. In fact, they resembled competing animals around a shrinking watering hole. Each had his or her own staff and mandate to protect. And everyone realized how high the stakes were: if the downsizing wasn’t done …
This review of the academic literature considers the prevalence of work teams in industry, and what factors influence whether self-managing teams become high-powered, or low-performing.
This customer service case study looks at change at a large telecomm and telephone company in the process of being privatized.
In this paper the authors look at the evidence of increased employee ownership in Canada. Employee ownership of a company may involve a 100 percent buyout to avoid closure, a transfer of ownership to employees (e.g., at the retirement of the owner), or the establishment of a company stock purchase plan. The paper looks at case studies of seven employee-owned firms in Canada. The studies show that employee ownership has meant survival, a return to profitability, and in many situations continued growth for these companies.