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How to change an organization and not die trying



Crises and change processes test the quality of an organization’s management. Good managers in stable environments show their weaknesses when circumstances require effective transformation. As there is no reliable manual for such moments, I’ll take the liberty to propose some guidelines:


Ten keys for managing change successfully


  1. Purpose  

What gives meaning to change is the expected benefit from achieving the change promoted. You need a reason to change.

  1. Planning  

After deciding where we want to go, it’s essential to precisely define the itinerary.

  1. Resources 

The change should be ambitious, yet possible. It is necessary to measure the strengths and the capacity to capture the required resources.

  1. Decision 

In the design phase for change, there’s leeway for doubt and differences of opinions… However, in the execution phase it is time to act determinedly.

  1. Consensus 

Change is successful when it is able to gather around itself the highest number of eager stakeholders.

  1. Listen  

The best change agents are usually sensitive to the different points of view of the different interest groups.

  1. Optimism 

Whoever promotes change must not just convince. As far as possible, it is desirable that he incites enthusiasm too.

  1. Rigor

Change design includes the verification processes in each one of its phases to evaluate whether the plan is being correctly accomplished.

  1. Learning 

In a change process the first who transform are the protagonists. The final outcome is that people think and act in a new way.

  1. Recognition

To consolidate a culture of change, it is essential to recognize the contribution of those who have actively supported the process. Change must be a winning move.


Seven errors of change management


  1. Reactivity

When we lose control over our lives or business, change becomes the execution of a script written by others.

  1. Improvisation 

In some cultures the capacity of some people to find quick and intuitive solutions is overrated. At the end of the day, the results put each one in their place.

  1. Fear

Change is also a question of attitude. Where some see opportunities others warn only of threats.

  1. Lack of leadership

Change should not be an anonymous process. It needs visible faces and people who take on responsibilities.

  1. Lack of communication

The best change project can be ruined by the effect of undesirable rumours or poorly managed resistances.

  1. Routine

There are people with great achievements in their bios which cease to bring value when attachment to bygone practices outstrips the ambition for future achievements.

  1. Creation of coalitions 

Internal conflicts deflect power from change. So long some fight with others, the opportunity for change to the benefit of all is lost.


José Aguilar

José Aguilar López es Doctor en Filosofía (PhD) y Programa de desarrollo directivo (PDD) por el IESE. Socio Director de MindValue. Imparte seminarios y cursos numerosas Universidades y Escuelas de Negocios de Europa y América. En 2006 obtuvo, junto a Javier Fernández Aguado, el premio del Management Internacional Forum al mejor libro de Management del año, por la obra conjunta “La soledad del directivo” (Lid, Madrid, 2006).

Ha participado, en calidad de autor, coordinador o coautor en los trece libros. Es colaborador habitual en diarios, revistas de información económica, radio y TV.

José Aguilar is a Managing Partner of MindValue - a company specialized in professional services for C-level management - and the VP of the International Association of Management Studies (Asociación Internacional de Estudios sobre Management - ASIEMA). He is also a management coach and a senior member of the club, Top Ten Management Spain. He is recognized as one of the key Spanish experts in change management consultancy and training.

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