Unfreeze, change and mould – change management in a new form.
by Derek Linsell on 4/09/2012
Change management for an organisation can work like reshaping an ice cube – it is all about the process that helps assist the change.
As with change in anyone’s life it can be unsettling and threatening to the current norm; but sometime’s it can be successful. And other times it can make a situation worse than before.
The understanding of the change, acceptance and movement forward will be the momentum to cope.
There are many discussions and theories on the approach to change management and all have relevant, key points.
Take Kurt Lewin’s example of ice – unfreeze, change, refreeze.
The first step is the unfreezing and probably the most important to understand, particularly in the changing world we live in today. It involves stopping and assessing the current situation and realising that you are at this point for a reason; a need to change and get out of your comfort zone.
Stage two begins with knowing that change is not an event, but a process. And here will be the hardest part for people to adjust to while they are learning and understanding these changes.
The process of the learning curve needs to be communicated well so as not to fall in the trap of thinking that the change is the problem; it is the mismanagement of that change that occurs.
And finally stage three is the refreeze, the idea of establishing stability once these changes have been actioned.
It is important to remember that this final process has no set timeframe, as it could take weeks for some and far longer for others to completely adjust to their new set routines, rules and practices.
Even the best leaders and mangers can overlook change and its impact on the organisation as a whole. By conscientiously working with all parties from an early stage, these barriers or issues can be addressed, handled and supported to ensure the change happens as smoothly as possible.
Apricot Consulting approaches the final stage from a different perspective. We prefer to use a more liquid approach, kind of like jelly! Unfreeze, change and mould so the final product is not solid but not liquid. After all, change is a now a constant even after some elements have been implemented. Yes, there needs to be an amount of certainty but that change will need to be moulded again, sometimes over and over again. So don’t freeze it solid – perhaps something more mouldable, like firstname.lastname@example.org