According to a popular English cliche, the only constant thing in life is change. Change is inevitable after an individual or organization has undergone a process over time, and it can be either positive or negative. Negative change results when an organization neglects basic structural principles, fundamental issues, and warning signals, while positive change occurs when organizations make adjustments to improve performance and facilitate sustainable growth. To this end, any organization that must stay on top of its game must welcome change.

This change doesn't come on a platter of gold. It involves teamwork, financial and material resources, vision, and selflessness to achieve successful results. It is a combination of fundamental principles and conduct and total adherence to functionalities.

What Is A Maxim?

A general truth, fundamental principle, or rule of conduct is what a maxim entails. It is a rule that guides action, the conditions in which the action is performed, and its consequences or results.

As individuals, we have rules guiding many things we do; how we speak, where we go, most decisions we make, and how we generally conduct ourselves. We allow ourselves to be guided by specific rules, depending on what we aim to achieve.

Similarly, successful organizations are bound by good team spirit, principles, and structures. Adherence to these principles will ultimately result in productivity and optimal performance.

The five maxims of change by Lehman and Belady are a set of principles that, if adhered to, can assist organizations and teams proactively prepare for changes that will inevitably occur to their structure and system. However, it is crucial to note that these principles and structures can only be achieved when they work as a team to embrace change.

5 Maxims of Change

1. Change must happen

Layman and Belady captured this as the law of continued change. They argued that every organizational structure or policy used in the real world must change or become less and less useful in that environment.  This implies that, with time, a particular system becomes stale and outdated, thereby affecting the impact of the organization and making the organization vulnerable to its competitors. Therefore, change becomes expedient. Recent research proves that two out of every three organizations have to change at least four times every five years. In other words, if you want to remain competitive, you need to embrace change sooner or later.

This is true because as life evolves, people tend to make changes in their choice of food, clothing, shelter, material wants, etc. So as an organization, there is a need to understudy those changes and put the needed resources together through keen supervision and implementation to meet the increasing demands of people if you must stay relevant in what you do.

2. Change breeds change

Layman and Belady aptly capture this as the law of large program evolution. Here, they opined that evolution is an automated process and measurement of system attributes, such as size, the time between releases, number of reported errors, etc. Organizationally speaking, it has to do with changes in the workforce, a careful study of past activities, the scope of coverage, etc.  That's to say that, with the proper structure, it becomes easier for the organization to increase its value chain.

When change takes place in any organization, it affects all sectors, even the workforce. Sometimes, redundant workers need to undergo on-the-job training, seminar, or workshop to fit into this change. It is also worth noting that any worker who fails to fit into this change may face sanction or retrenchment.

Also, there is a need to overhaul the machinery and mode of operation to accommodate this latest change. When this is done right, a new structure and policy will bring total transformation to the organization.

3. Change increases complexity

This maxim, according to Layman and Belady, is called the law of increasing complexity. Every passing day, the needs of man increase, resulting in divergent demands. These demands no doubt affect their choices which in turn leads to complexity. Therefore, any organization that must survive must prepare to meet these demands and complexities.

4. Documentation eases change

When an organization has proper documentation of its activities, it will be easier for them to know what works for them over time and make necessary adjustments (changes). Every organization which desires change must have a sound filing system. This filing system will make it easier for them to make references to some of the policies they have used in the past, enabling them to facilitate the change they desire. Layman and Belady succinctly put it as the law of conservation of familiarity.

5. More resources do not imply faster change

An organization may have the requisite human and material resources, but growth will be retarded when used abysmally. This maxim, according to Layman and Belady, is the law of Organizational stability. Here they suggested that over the lifetime of a program, the rate of development of that program is approximately constant and independent of the resources devoted to system development.

In terms of an organization, this maxim implies that growth is not necessarily a result of the availability of the needed resources but the ability to properly implement and execute according to the letters, organization's structure, policy, and culture.

Creating Successful Change Control Processes

Change can be successfully enhanced when all hands are on deck and when the right structural principles are followed. Since we have established the five maxims of change by Lehman and Belady, we will now consider how organizations can use them to create successful change control processes.

1. Change must happen

Since organizations can not grow effectively without embracing change, it is crucial for any organization that wants change to clearly state the kind of change they want and make sure it's in line with the missions and visions of the organization.

After articulating the change required, the next step is to carry out a critical review and assessment against organizational objectives and performance goals to ensure the change will lead your organization to the desired results strategically, financially, legally, and ethically. This action will enable you to understand the value of the change and allow you to have insight into the level of material and human resources needed to carry out the change.

Two Things Come Into Consideration Here:

a. What do we need to change?

b. Why do we need to make this change?

In line with this, an organization must carefully observe and be willing to change its mode of operation if it lacks the fundamentals to stand current realities.

2 . Change breeds change

Having done number one above, the organization must work together to effect change. They must work hard to determine the impact of the change by conducting an impact assessment. That is:

a. Who will be most affected by the change?

b. How will people receive the change?

c. What are the reactions that will come with the change?

After carefully carrying out these assessments, you will know if there is a need to organize training, seminars, or workshops for employees affected by the change.

It is also essential to develop a strategy that will ease communication.

You Need To Take Note Of The Following Factors:

a.  How to communicate change

b. How to manage feedback.

Talking about how to communicate this change, you must consider the category of employees who must first receive this change and the effective communication channel. This should encapsulate the time frame for this change, the key messages that will drive the change, and the communication medium you plan to use.

3. Change increases complexity

The organization must be aware of the complexities that come with change. They must brace up to accept more significant responsibilities if they must remain in the mainstream.

Some Factors To Consider

a. You need to understand your workers; most employers neglect this aspect. They forget to know that the employees are at the baseline of this change process and are essential to the change. An employer must be close enough to the employees to understand why they behave the way they do, why they are reluctant to embrace the change, and do all it takes to address those issues.

b. You must reinforce influencers. These are the employees who have the power to influence other employees positively or negatively. Giving them a sense of belonging will enable them to influence their colleagues positively for optimum performance.

c. Delegate power to others. Change comes with enormous responsibilities. Therefore, to meet these considerable responsibilities, you must give managerial powers to competent employees in all sectors, which will help in facilitating the change process.

d. Develop a reward system; Appreciate employees when they perform optimally, and query erring employees. Doing this will bring about a high level of self-discipline because they know that they could be punished or rewarded.

4. Documentation eases change

Due to the importance of continuous change, organizations must endeavor to have appropriate documentation of their activities. This action will go a long way in easing the change process.

Every organization must work hard to have a proper filing system. There should be a drawer or cabinet with several sections that will bear different dates. Organizations must file all documentation in line with the date to enable easy tracking.

5. More resources do not imply faster change

All stakeholders in the organization must understand that change doesn't come swiftly due to the available resources but rather due to an effective management system.

When deploying the necessary resources for a change, the organization should also work out modalities to implement this change. This can be in the form of a policy framework, which are the specific policies that will make the change achievable, not negating the organization's culture, mission, and vision. A step-by-step template on how to achieve this change progressively will be significantly helpful.

Most importantly, create a conducive environment to accommodate everyone involved in the change process.

How Teams Can Create Successful Change Processes

Creating a clear template for the future will reduce confusion and assist your team in implementing these maxims properly. Below are some simple ways teams can create successful change processes:

a. State your plans for the future: management should not live a life of secrecy; employees need to be reminded of the vision for the future frequently. It will clarify and help the team know what is ahead of them.

b. Set a short-term goal; in as much as you have a vision for the future, you should be able to split them into long and short term. Doing this will serve as a morale booster for each milestone while working towards the big goal.

c. Seek input from the team to give them a sense of belonging and discourage feelings of being left out of the change process.

d. Ensure that you speedily communicate adjustments needed in the change process and seek feedback in due time.

e. You must maintain optimism: change can be stressful and time-consuming but ensure positive energy to keep everyone in the team spirit.

Finally, management must develop strategies that will bring them closer to employees, learn to communicate with them, and get direct feedback.

As the saying goes, a tree cannot make a forest, the same way an individual cannot do much when creating desirable change in an organization. It is fundamental to conclude that an organization must work as a team, willingly embrace change in due cause and deploy the requisite machinery to make the change work if they must remain relevant in this complex business society.

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