Jean’s Making Ethics Work Checklist – the nature and impact of change

Early notice: I will be closing this website on 30th April 2014.  After this date, I’ll be continuing my favourite hobby of researching the life and times of people who lived, worked and created in past times.

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Change will be a core element in the process of Making Ethics Work.

Therefore, knowing how change is currently managed within your company or organisation is a pre-requisite.   If your people are or could be uncomfortable with change, your leadership and management groups need to understand why.

Jean’s Driving Change Sequence is offered this week to assist in moving your people from ‘fear about’ to ‘interest in’ and then ‘commitment to’ change – and specifically to changes being planned and designed to Make Ethics Work.

There are six clear stages in Making Ethics Work:

  1. Defining core and related terms, concepts and practices,
  2. Introducing the terms, concepts and practices to all levels of activity within the company/organisation – together with the implementation process,
  3. Implementing the Making Ethics Work Project – together with commencement of procedures to monitor the impact of implementation throughout the company/organisation,
  4. Measuring the nature and impact of change at quarterly intervals through the first year – both planned and unplanned processes, practices and outcomes,
  5. Evaluating and reviewing process and progress toward the end of the first year – in preparation for the second year of the Making Ethics Work Project, and
  6. Commencement of the second year – based on evaluation of the pilot year.

Each stage has the potential for change in the way things are done and said, or for new and different things to be introduced.

Extracts from Jean’s Driving Change Sequence are offered here to assist in moving your people from ‘fear about’ to ‘interest in’ and then ‘commitment to’ change designed to Make Ethics Work.

You’ll know that change can be introduced or imposed in such a way that it is seen to be moving too far, too fast, and too soon. 

Have you seen people fall away and behind, their interest and support disintegrate and found yourself – as the initiator or facilitator of change – stranded and isolated?   When this happens, the task of regaining that ground will be difficult and daunting, to say the least.   The speed with which change is introduced can be a critical factor in its success.  The best advice I can offer is to heed the concept of MOMENTUM where there are three basic components –

  • the size of the object,
  • the speed with which it is moving, and
  • the direction in which it is moving.

If you transfer these components to the introduction of change, you are looking at:

  • the size of the change – the amount of change and the degree to which the work environment is going to be affected by the change,
  • the speed of introducing the change – the amount of preliminary discussion, preparation and planning, and
  • the direction in which the change is taking the company or organisation – the purpose and vision you are working to achieve in the grand, as well as this immediate, plan.

Change which grows out of analysis and identification of the status quo will, of its very nature, respect the three components of momentum and will develop its own genuine self-induced momentum.  However, imposed change can bring about disruption and disquiet:  transplanting change from someone else’s context can be disastrous, and forced change can be treated with a mammoth lack of enthusiasm.

Jean’s DRIVING CHANGE SEQUENCE is offered to assist in:

  • moving from ‘fear about’ to ‘interest in’ and then ‘commitment to’ change,
  • planning change,
  • responding to imposed change, or
  • evaluating a recent change process.

Underlying Principle:

In planning change – or responding to imposed change – carefully consider and monitor:

  • the size of the change – the amount of change that is acceptable to the Four Primary Players in Driving Change, and the degree to which the organizational environment (both internal and external) is going to be affected by the change process or outcome,
  • the speed of introducing the change – carefully examine the Drivers (catalysts, causes or contributors to change), and carefully schedule preliminary discussion, preparation and planning to ensure that the speed is appropriate to the nature of change, and
  • the direction in which the change is taking the Organisation – that the focus of change is on the purpose and vision you are working to achieve in the grand, as well as this immediate, plan. 

Nine Steps to guide the process of Driving Change:

Step 1:  Carefully consider the needs, interests and aspirations within these Four Categories of Primary Players in Driving Change:

  1. individuals – people who make up the workplace, and who will be involved with and/or affected by the change process or outcome
  2. your legal entity as a supplier of goods or services, as an employer, as an investor, as a contractor, etc
  3. market-place, geographic community or community of interest served, and
  4. internal or external change agent/s – the catalyst for change

Step 2:  Give adequate time to understand that change:

  1. can be simple or complex – and anything in between
  2. can mean or include any of these – to alter, improve, strengthen, introduce, replace, remove, expand, extend, shift, use differently, share, combine, adjust, add beauty to, promote, explain, simplify, make more effective, make more accessible, make more friendly, reformat, etc.

Step 3:   Carefully consider (a) opportunities and (b) risks associated with the process of change, which can be affected by enthusiasm, desperation, innovation, need, opportunity, challenge, fear, negativity, naivety, ignorance, great wisdom or lack of wisdom, manipulation, etc.

Step 4:   Know and understand that change of itself isn’t necessarily positive or negative.  It is the motive or intention behind the change where these can more easily be recognized.  Some of the most positive changes in workplaces and communities have been initiated with questionable intent – and some of the greatest changes have come about seemingly by accident.

Step 5:   Know and understand that EFFECTIVE change begins with gaining an understanding of the current situation with questions like these:

  1. what’s happening now?
  2. what are the facts, and how do we feel about the facts?
  3. what do we wish to change, and why?
  4. who will benefit?
  5. what is the nature and extent of control of influence that we have or need to have?
  6. what is our criteria for making decisions and setting priorities in planning and introducing change, or in reacting or responding to imposed or forced change?
  7. what is the nature and extent of resources required, and where do these come from?
  8. how will we evaluate the process of change as well as the outcome of the change process?
  9. who will be responsible and accountable for the agreed change process and for the desired change outcome?

Step 6:   Know and understand that EFFICIENT change means that all available resources are used or utilized in the most effective way to support an effective change process and outcome (‘effective’ is doing the right thing:  ‘efficient’ is doing it the right way’).

Step 7:    Know and understand that HUMANE change means that the needs and interests of all involved in the process or outcome are carefully and continuously considered and respected.

Step 8:    Monitor the bottom line through any change process

In a commercial entity, it is the last line of a financial statement that shows the net profit or loss of the company.

In a nonprofit organisation, the ‘bottom line’ is the consistent quality of services, activities and functions which address or achieve the purpose for which the organisation exists.

In both cases, the bottom-line must be uppermost in the minds of decision-makers on a day-to-day basis.

The question to ask continuously is ‘To what extent is what I am doing – or planning to do – contributing to an improvement or enhancement in our bottom-line?’

Step 9:      Check whether current delegation and supervision methods are likely to support any change  process

Delegation and supervision:

Effective delegation means knowing exactly what is required, by whom, from whom, for what purpose and in what form. It means giving the right job, in the right way, to the right person, at the right time, with the right instruction.

A supervisor does not personally tell every employee what to do, but may well be responsible for seeing that everything is done. Since the job of a supervisor is to see that their areas of responsibility operate smoothly, it’s essential that authority is appropriately delegated.

Delegation of authority:

Authority should only be delegated to a person who has both the knowledge and the competence to carry out the delegated task. If s/he has information about the job but is not competent to do the job, s/he should not be given the authority.

Accountability and supervision:

When delegating tasks or responsibilities, a supervisor needs to explain the accountability that accompanies the delegation. Accountability is a requirement to report on or justify actions related to specified matters, ie to carry the blame or the credit for things done or said.

In each delegation, the person must know and understand:

1. the results for which they are accountable, and
2. to whom and by when they are accountable.

They must also be given the necessary authority, time and resources to achieve the results according to the (preferably) written requirements of the delegation.

Aspects of ‘Making Ethics Work’ that have been considered so far are:

  1. Does this challenge begin and end with Management and Leadership?
  2. Parameters and Focus for the Checklist
  3. Management and Leadership Styles
  4. The Human Side of Leadership
  5. The nature and impact of change