Managing Change in the Workplace:
A 12-Step Program for Success

Ralph L. Kliem and Irwin S. Ludin

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(c) 1999
140 pp. (paper)
ISBN: 0-9664286-1-7


Change doesn't come easily. It has been said that the only person in the world who likes change is a baby with a wet diaper. Yet, change is not necessarily something to be resisted.  If change were so bad, we would all still be living in caves and commuting on horseback. It's quite clear that the issue is not change itself but how it's introduced.

In this book, we present a scenario about introducing change in one of the most important organizations in the world: Santa's workshop. Santa Claus is in trouble. His workshop at the North Pole has been cruising along for centuries, but Santa now finds that he is having difficulty satisfying his customer base--the children of the world. He comes to recognize that changes are necessary but discovers that implementing them is another matter altogether. After considerable trial and error, and with a lot of help, he learns that introducing change is not just about modeling or restructuring; nor is it about bellowing orders; it is about people believing in change and wanting it to happen.

Santa's problems may seem as far away as the North Pole, but the issues, problems, challenges, and lessons are as real as they can get. For clarity, the methodology in this book is presented linearly, in clear, concise installments. In real life, of course, obstacles do not present themselves singly or in sequence, and the approaches to dealing with them do not form a neat one-to-one correspondence. In this respect, Santa has it easy.

This book is based on our experiences as initiators and receivers of change. We've introduced change in a Fortune 500 company as well as been the target of change. We've celebrated victories and suffered defeats. Tens of thousands of our colleagues have lost their jobs or seen their status shrivel. Proudly, we can say that we survived one of the greatest re-engineering, downsizing, or rightsizing (whatever you prefer to call it) efforts in American corporate history.

Still, the change is ongoing and unavoidable. But if change is a little frightening at times, it is also challenging and offers valuable lessons--the most important one being that change is about people. Just as Abraham Lincoln so astutely observed about government, we've learned that, to be successful, change can only be of the people, for the people, and by people.

So read on, friends. No matter whether you've been naughty or nice, you deserve to benefit from Santa's hard-earned knowledge.

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