12-17-2010 11:34 PM CET - Business, Economy, Finances, Banking & Insurance

Alsbridge Shares Tips and Insights to Help Middle Managers Become Change Agents for your Organization

Press release from: Alsbridge Inc.
PR Agency: Power Public Relations

“In times of change, middle managers can be your strongest ally or your weakest link,” says Alsbridge CEO Ben Trowbridge.

A 2007 benchmarking study revealed that middle managers play several key roles including: communicator, advocate, coach, liaison and change manager. However, the irony is that these same managers were also cited as the most resistant group to change. If middle management resists a change, their people will follow and the resistance becomes viral throughout the enterprise.

Trowbridge recommends a common-sense approach for transforming middle managers into change agents. He says, “Successful change occurs when you have buy-in, marketing support, and you define and address any resistance to the change in a positive and proactive manner.”

He continues. “First, you have to bring middle management into the conversation by enlisting the vast operational knowledge they have of your organization. Second, you need to convey your value and trust in them. And third, your middle management needs to be well informed since they will serve as your messengers and ambassadors and influence other viewpoints within the organization.”

Marketing also plays an important role as new initiatives are deployed throughout the enterprise explains Trowbridge.

“Employing a marketing approach to change programs forces the change team to think about how impacted groups view the change effort, similar to using a focus group to test reception of a new product. Concentrating on marketing to an uninformed audience helps avoid becoming complacent and internally focused.”

Trowbridge also cautions companies to be wary of what he calls “underground resistance.”

“Underground resistance is more difficult to manage than passive resistance because it is active resistance that is not evident on the surface. Typically, at least 50 percent of the impacted group falls into this category since they have natural doubts about the change and whether it will really work, so they take the safest position among the undecided and less informed. Some examples of underground resistance are:

➢ At a staff meeting everyone agrees to utilize a new procedure, but several weeks later the procedure has not been implemented.
➢ New computers are introduced into the workplace, while all staff insisted that they have their own machines, virtually nobody is using them for the intended purpose.
➢ A change in job responsibilities takes place for an employee. The employee consents to the change by saying: "You're the boss, and if that's what you want." Later the employee only changes what he is doing enough to appear cooperative, but in fact reverts back to old ways.

“Fear of change is contagious,” concludes Trowbridge. “Positive participation from middle management helps employees see the broader picture and the impact of change beyond their own individual interests. By transforming middle management into your change agents you can smooth out potential bumps in the road.”

Additional insight can be found in a new whitepaper from Alsbridge titled, “The Political Realities of Resistance to Change.”

About Alsbridge Inc.

Alsbridge, Inc. is an award-winning global advisory firm and a distinguished member of the 2010 Inc. 500 fastest growing privately held companies. Alsbridge redefines the way companies reduce costs and improve back office operations. Our proprietary benchmarking tools and data resources enable clients to utilize the most cost effective and value added sources globally for information technology, business processes and telecommunications networks. Through a combination of internal optimization and outsourcing, our clients achieve cost savings that support their strategic business objectives. Founded in 2003, Alsbridge is the proven, effective difference. The company’s web site is: www.alsbridge.com. Follow Alsbridge on Twitter @Alsbridge_Inc

3535 Travis
Suite 105
Dallas, TX 75204

Press Contact:
Amy Power

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