Transition Processes


Effective management is much more than the achievement of immediate results and dealing with current or impeding problems.

Effective management includes creating potential for achieving good results over the long run. Because of change is inevitable and because it can so easily produce problems for companies, a key characteristic of an effective organization from a long run viewpoint is its ability to anticipate required organizational changes and to adapt as business conditions change.

Organizations, by definition, are social systems in which people have norms, values, shared beliefs and paradigms of what is right and what is wrong, what is legitimate and what is not, and how things are done. One gains status and power through concurrence and conformity with these paradigms.


Every social system contains forces for conservatism, for maintaining the status quo at any cost, but it must also contain means for movement, or it will become paralyzed and eventually die.

Effective executives do not believe in the status quo but are committed to change. They know that the world is not static but dynamic, in a constant state of flux; they know that companies - of course - can change, but that it takes time and patience.

Inertia, frozen mind-sets, informal relationships, territorial imperatives, long-established personal interactions and self-satisfaction are well-known ingredients of 'resistance to change'.

The forces that prevent organizations from developing a high level of adaptability and which can push successful companies into decline, are strong and numerous.


Planning change from a solid conceptual base, forces to build a clear understanding of what to change as well as how to change: a statement of goals is not a 'change' program and planning changes is always easier than implementing them.

Organizational change is often threatening. People seek stability and order; change can mean disruption and uncertainty. Resistance to change takes many forms - from complaints and grumbling to absenteeism, turnover, work slowdowns, strikes and outright sabotage.

Reading or hearing about a new program is no guarantee for understanding the message. Pains must be taken to have the new program heard and comprehended: rhetoric, crazies, scared people, discomfort, 'future shock' do not contribute to an effective change.

Training and development to help the employees behave in new ways - do not assume that the adoption of a different behavior does not require different skills or attitudes - and an effective reinforcement system are often needed.

Change is - and this is a platitude - most successful when those who are affected are involved in the planning. Nothing makes people resist new ideas or approaches more adamantly then their belief that change is being imposed on them.


If change is to be permanent, it must be gradual, incremental, monitored and adjusted - an organization, quite naturally, tends to pay attention to those activities that are being evaluated.

It is up to management to help bring about behavioral changes by creating a sense of dissatisfaction with the status quo; by making people aware of why the status quo is unsatisfactory; by involving people as much as possible in determining what the changes should be or when not feasible by presenting the changes - and the rationale for them - in ways that deal forthrightly with all the concerns of those affected; especially important is to give people a role in designing, implementing and monitoring the changes and the change process.

Effective executives fear their successful company to become complacent and therefore devote time to assuring that the organization’s culture is flexible enough to recognize and meet future challenges. They see change as a way of doing business and create a vision that inspires their people to accept the uncertainties and take risks. Not a luxury since our talented people look continually for meaning, direction and ways to contribute effectively in turbulent times.

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