The times they are a-changin’. — Bob Dylan
The successful design and implementation of a change-related communication plan depends on professionals who possess excellent communication competency skills. Changes-planned and unexpected-are realities in all facets of our lives. In this unit, we will study the concept of organizational change communication and examine our individual change-related perceptions, behaviors, and skills.
Why is structured management and communication of change such a necessary focus in organizations today? Why does change seem to be happening faster and faster?
As Peter Russell (1998) explains in his book, Waking Up in Time: Finding Inner Peace in Times of Accelerating Change:
The pace of life is speeding up. As most of us are only too aware, change comes more and more rapidly. Technological breakthroughs spread through society in years rather than centuries. Calculations that would have taken decades are now made in minutes. Communication that once required months occurs in seconds. Development in every area is happening faster and faster. As a result, more of us are living in the fast lane-many in overdrive. We are faced with more information to absorb, more challenges to meet, more skills to learn, and more tasks to accomplish. Yet the time to fit it all in seems to be getting less and less. (pp. 3-4 )
Globalization and technological advances have indeed resulted in broad-based, fast-paced change becoming the new norm. Even our attention spans have been evolving to match the short, fragmented timing patterns of television commercials and the pace of video games.
Stop and think about it for a moment-if you can find the time! Did you know that Ford’s Model T was virtually unchanged for almost twenty years? How long will this year’s car models stay the same? Tools from the Stone Age went unchanged for thousands of years. When was the last time you upgraded your cell phone? There are many other examples of how quickly things change.
On a positive note, Cheryl Richardson, author of Take Time for Your Life, assures us that:
More and more people are tired of the fast-paced, frenzied “information age” and are interested in higher quality lives-lives in which they have more time for themselves and their relationships, more energy to invest in their emotional, physical and spiritual well-being. Whether you are a corporate executive working sixty hours a week, a single parent trying to raise a family, or someone who’s tired of feeling stressed out and pressed for time, you have a choice about how to live your life. You can step back, reevaluate your priorities, and make a conscious decision about the future you would like to create. (p. 1)
Organizations can also decide to tackle their time-related change challenges with the same attitude. As rapid change becomes the norm, individuals and organizations are gaining valuable experience in managing change successfully. As a result, more and more resources become available every day for others to research and use. And, as we will discover in Unit 10, many new professional communication career opportunities are emerging to address the growing needs that this phenomenon of rapid change is presenting.
Dylan, B. (1963). The times they are a-changin’. On The times they are a changin’. [CD]. New York: Sony.
Richardson, C. (1999) Take time for your life: A personal coach’s seven-step program for creating the life you want. New York: Broadway Books.
Russell, P. (1998). Waking up in time: Finding inner peace in times of accelerating change. Novato, CA: Origin.
To successfully complete this learning unit, you will be expected to:
1. Describe personal change related skills and behaviors.
2. Identify common organizational change models.
3. Identify appropriate data collection needed for planned change.
4. Develop organizational change analysis competencies through case analysis.
5. Analyze how effective communication supports organizational change.
In the last unit you developed the outline for your final paper. This was actually a very detailed process following the outline provided in the template. I have not graded any of them yet, but I am sure the work will follow the usual excellence displayed in this class.
In the next unit there is no assignment but you need to find your cheese. An interesting and funny read. You will do the rough draft of your paper and post it for a peer review prior to submitting the paper as an assignment in unit #10. This actually makes unit 10 a no assignment unit if you do all the work now as a draft.
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