‘Unfreeze, Move, Freeze ‘ – Using Kurt Lewin’s model to identify the need for change in your organization

Unfreeze, Move, Freeze

How many times have you or other disgruntled employees complained that your place of employment just did not get it? Complaints have surely reached upper management but you have yet to see the sort of change necessary to produce sustainable change.

Many have fought this organizational “beast” and continue to suffer or leave for the next “imperfect” organization.

What needs to change and how deep does this change effort need to swim to clean up all the griminess left at the bottom of the ocean?

Well there are many answers to those questions but, the simplest way to start this change effort is by first identifying, organizational wide the need for change.

Change Models

One way that I have mentioned in a previous blog can include the benefits of using the OCAI assessment tool.  Results taken from assessments from employees identify the current state of their organization and what all employees desire it to.

No doubt, this tool has the ability to open Pandora box. However if your organization is not currently in the position to present and deliver the time necessary to work through these assessments, why not try Kurt Lewins, three phase for organizational change “Unfreeze, Move, Freeze”?

Introduced in the early 1900’s this tool is considered by some to be “too simplistic”, yet sometimes it is my belief that some things do not require in depth analysis to determine the need for change.

Once it is unfrozen, any unacceptable policies and procedures can be altered or “moved”, and then taken back to its original frozen state. Business professionals lament that this theory fails to identify the various elements and variables that need change, however it is great to get the conversation going.

Lewins’ theory (that helped cement others more in depth theory) illustrates that organizations move from being stagnate or in their current state, to new changes (implemented), and back to its original state.

This theory identifies those who are for change and those who want to maintain the “status quo”.  But it also has the opposite effect.  Employees against change, push back.  A force field, where you have employees for organizational change, and those who are against change are easily reflected. Change is not foreseeable when those for it and against are opposing one another. Therefore you have what Lewin calls a Force Field AnalysisKurtLewinForceField

Opinion’s to refrain from new trainings (lack of resources, time, or implementation for training) represents arguments for status quo (Anderson, 2015). Request such as new customer demands, market demands, organizational growth can represent the need for change.  The force for change and the argument to sustain creates the force field effect. Although there are different interest represented in force field analysis, it is an eye opener for organizations no matter what side of the fence you stand.

Representation of the battle that lies ahead allows for employees and stockholders to understand why change takes time and effort to embrace.

The conversation is ignited, presenting the steps for organization development. Yes, practitioners agree that it is not the most complex models, but at least it has the ability to get the conversation moving in the right direction.

Although change may be a feat, at least your organization will have a brilliant painting of those for change and those who oppose it.

When management ponders why change is not sustainable, this illustrations will help paint the picture why.

Reference

Anderson, D.L. (2015). Organization Development: The Process of Leading Organizational Change. (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications

Connelly, M. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.change-management-coach.com/force-field-analysis.html

 

Using baby steps to implement Cultural Change Efforts

Have you been involved in an organizational culture change, only to see your organization pick up the bad habits just as quickly as they vowed to destroy them?

In large organizations, cultural change is not something as easily undertaken as the conversation about it unveils.

Frustration faces many of us as we encounter how things are done versus how things should play out.

“Culture defines core values, assumptions, interpretations, and approaches that characterize an organization” (Cameron and Quinn, 2011, p. 35).

According to an article on OCAI’s website, Conditions-for-Successful-Organizational-Change many organization consultants are faced with the challenge of developing a cultural change model for an organization, just to see it quickly buried.  Why? Because of the hard work that revolves around getting people on the same page for one, getting them committed (for two), and three, keeping them committed.  Since we do not have control over another person’s will, this can be a daunting task. That, in a nutshell, is enough to rattle any involved in the change efforts, nerves.  Therefore before you say that you want a change in your company culture, beware that not only does it not come easy, it can come at the price, of stress and frustration.

Small Victories go a long way

One of the main things that can be adopted, according to “Diagnosing and changing organizational culture” (Cameron and Quinn, 2011), is “celebrating small” victories, no matter how small that victory may be. In fact setting certain benchmarks for those small victories can help maintain the change model instituted. Building and keeping momentum, are critical to the success of change efforts.

Employees have the opportunity to see that “yes, this cultural change can actually happen”, or “there is progress being made!”  Nothing excites an employee more than seeing that in which upper management has instituted come to pass.  Trust and reliability is established as they begin to see the change effort is not just another fad, you’re your CEO may have read about and decided to implement.  Therefore I urge you to implement celebrating small victories.  The moment doubt enters and spreads through your organization is the very moment your change efforts has just tanked.

Cameron, K.S., & Quinn, R.E. (2011). Diagnosing and changing organizational culture: Based on the competing values framework (3rd ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.