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Organizational Change is a Complex Phenomenon.

Change happens one person at a time. Each individual will make up their own mind about why they will accept and cooperate with change. This is what happens in the Desire phase of ADKAR.

All the tools of change management measure where people are, individually and collectively regarding the intended change. They do not describe how to change people. The “how” is described in the rational, political, and emotional dimensions of why people change.

The rational appeals to the intellect. It just makes sense. It includes a compelling reason for change, competitive analysis, project charters and participants that are logical, and clear objectives, near term and long term.

The political encompasses relationships that already exist in the organization and how they affect perceptions, attitudes and behavior. Executives are obviously at the top of the list. But this covers much more: middle and line management as well as union leadership. There are also people in the organization who have high influence with employees and management alike. They may not be designated management, but everyone knows them and listens to them. They play a vital role in the political dimension.

The emotional dimension is all about each individual needing to know how the change is going to affect them personally. What is the change? What’s going to be new? What will remain the same? Do I have any say? What will happen to me? How will I learn all this? All questions must be, and can be, answered before implementation training.

The challenge is that no two individuals will have the same needs within these dimensions, at the same time. So, based in the complexity and impact of a proposed change, the project has to describe specific actions and project activities addressing all three dimensions. These activities have established structures and timings within the project life cycle.


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