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During a Change

Steps to Take For An Organization To Thrive On Change - During the Change


  1. Understand the Dynamics of Change

  • Complete the "Before the Change Phase" - The better you do the "Before the Change" part the easier the during the change part becomes.  Momentum is our friend.


  • Understand the stresses of change.  Communicate the importance to changing.  One has to change not only to move forward but also to just keep from being pushed backward.  You are either growing or dying.  Both of the following slides show the pull we experience in the middle of a change.  We feel our heart pulling us to our vision.  We feel the current reality pulling us away from the hard work it takes for us to reach our vision.

Our Personal Stress 

Slides based on concept of systems thinking and personal master by Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline.

  1. Have a good reason for the change and continue to make your people a part of the what, when, how, and why.

  • Keep determining the consequences and examining the alternatives.

  • Remember the plan is only a your plan but keep flexible for unexpected consequences.

  • Baseline the plan often and track progress.

  • Use performance measures and feedback.

  • Continue to master project management

  1. Acknowledge the team's past efforts and celebrate the end of the old and beginning of the new.

  2. Continue to teach and learn together.

  3. Acknowledge the required improvements and success at achieving them.

  4. Reassign people quickly and communicate openly (Help those who need assistance as a team).

  5. Communicate all required and expected time frames and update times

  6. Do not make people worry about their future, supper stars may not stick around.

  7. Keep clarifying expectations

  8. Expect the natural dip in productivity, quality, etc. and do not overreact.  Changing in mid stream prolong the natural cocoon stages and could make the dip longer and deeper.


The Relationship Between Trust and Organizational Success During a Change

(By Pamela J. Fleming, TNU 2007)

Anytime a corporation experiences change for whatever reason, the corporation experiences a downturn in productivity and motivation. The length of time a corporation stays in the downturn determines how successful they are in managing change. Change managed poorly, may end a period of profitability for the corporation, and ultimately, force the corporation from the business world through bankruptcy. This paper outlines one of the ways to shorten the period of time a corporation spends in this “Valley of Despair” or “Cocoon Phase” by fostering an atmosphere of trust.

Neves and Caetano quoted a study by Bridges, “. . . change can be implemented more easily if participants accept the new attributes and are able to enact them. Successful organizational change takes place when employees have a purpose, a plan for, and a part to play in that change” (352). One method to empower employees and to foster trust during organizational change is to develop open and honest communication with all employees. Neves and Caetano explained, “Communication provides compelling justification for the change, enhances a sense of employee efficacy, and clarifies the changes to employee roles” (352).

Positive interaction between upper management and employees resulted in an increased level of trust and as they explained further, “Successful social exchanges lead to trust because they involve unspecified obligations for which no binding contract can be written. This is a sign of mutual support and investment in the relationship” (353). Supervisors who dealt with their employees fairly which cultivated trust between them shortened the time their corporations spent in the “Cocoon Phase.” Even the level of management providing the communication determined the extent of sustained trust as Morgan and Zeffane contended, “. . . direct consultation with higher-level managers is the most successful mechanism in sustaining trust in management” (71).


Another influence on trust in organizations is the behavior of previous supervisors as Ballinger and Schoormann revealed, “We believe that the affective reaction of an individual to the departure of his or her old leader has an impact on that individual’s initial willingness to trust his or her new leader” (127). It is advantageous to those stepping into new leadership roles to understand the organization’s culture. Even if the previous leader was not trusted, knowing this will help the new leader understand where he/she should develop an atmosphere of trust.

Kuhl, et al., reminded us, “Trust is a way to bring about cooperation in spite of such unavoidable uncertainty. The problem with trusting someone is that it also involves a risk, which is often difficult to assess. . . . trust entails the risk that one’s willingness to cooperate may be misused” (185-186). If management is trusted in the small daily interactions with its employees, it allowed employees to risk trusting them during change.

Management must be diligent in maintaining an atmosphere of trust as Kuhl, et al., repeated, “Trust as a management tool offers a key advantage: as a strategy, trust provides a great deal of maneuverability. People who trust have no need to wait for every favor to be repaid immediately. . . . However, the problem is that even a minor indication of a violation can suffice to end a relationship of trust” (187).

Top-level management’s open and honest communication coupled with treating employees fairly enabled organizations to move through periods of change quicker because the employees could trust supervision and knew they had their interests in mind. We learned in an early Management and Human Relations Module to do treat employees fairly because it is just the right thing to do.

Works Cited

Ballinger, Gary A., and F. David Schoorman. “INDIVIDUAL REACTIONS TO LEADERSHIP SUCCESSION IN WORKGROUPS.” Academy of Management Review 32.1 (2007): 118-136. Business Source Premier. 30 April 2007.

Kuhl, Stefan, Schnell, Thomas, and Franz-joseph Tillmann. “Laterial leadership: An organizational approach to change.” Journal of Change Management 5.2 (2005): Business Source Premier. 30 April 2007. <>

Morgan, David E., and Rachid Zeffane. “Employee involvement, organization change and trust in management.” International Journal of Human Resource Management 14.1 (2003): 55-75. Business Source Premier. 30 April 2007.

Neves, Pedro, and Antinio Caetano. “Social Exchange Processes in Organization
Change: The Roles of Trust and Control.” Journal of Change Management 6.4 (2006): 351-364. Business Source Premier. Trevecca Nazarene University.
30 April 2007. <>




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