Effective Change Management

On December 4, Dr. Jim Bohn principal of the Paranet Group and author of Architects of Change and If Your Water Cooler Could Talk spoke to FBLP members about managing change in their family businesses.

Dr. Bohn discussed some of the issues and challenges of dealing with change in a business environment. He stressed that managing successful change requires thoughtful, deliberate and persistent engagement to achieve and organization’s goals. And, that tensions are a natural part of change particularly with family businesses because of each family member’s unique personality, the family’s history, how family members identify with the business, any perceived losses, personal sacrifices, and the perceived fairness for all family members.

Dr. Bohn added that whether we like it or not, we need tor realize that everyone reacts differently to change based upon their personality traits and that is REALLY difficult to change a person’s personality so when you are planning a change you really need to do plan ahead.

Dr. Bohn offered 10 questions that organizations should answer before starting their change:

  1. 1. Why do you want to change? (Is there a benefit t the business? Is it for long term success? Will it provide a cost savings? Will it enable you to offer a product or service the competition doesn’t? Is it a legal matter or a change in government policy?)
  2. 2. What is the change?
  3. 3. Who is going to be involved?
  4. 4. Who will lead the change?
  5. 5. Who will need to know about the change?
  6. 6. Where are the true organization influencers?
  7. 7. Who will support those affected by the change?
  8. 8. What is the impact going to be on the organization?
  9. 9. Where will the risks be?
  10. 10. Who will be in charge of the details?

Dr. Bohn then went on to talk about “The Psychology of Change Management”  by McKinsey, Lawon and Price. He provided an overview on the “Four Conditions that are Required for Effective Change”:
*Rationale – Why are we making this change?
*Support – Will the organizatIon support the change?
*Training – Will employees be trained to have the skills to manage the change?
*Modeling – Are the organizations leaders embracing this change?

Dr. Bohn also provided tips for helping people adjust to change. They include:
1. Reducing anxiety to increase adaptation…emotion.
2. Simplifying to increase adoption….cognitive processing
3. Following through to assist integration….memory
4. Measuring for correction and celebration…accountability
5. Remember all changes build or destroys trust…move safely.

Participants walked away with a new level of confidence for leading their family businesses into the future.