Implementing ideas

Introduction

In this chapter we examine some of the problems of implementing ideas. First, we consider the various sources of resistance to change. Next, we look at the role of communication in overcoming resistance to change. This is followed by an examination of how ideas might be put into action. Lastly, we look at how we might foster a climate for change in an organisation.

The successful introduction of new ideas helps maintain an effective organisation and sustain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. New ideas are not accepted automatically; they are often resisted. Knowing what resistance there will be is the first step in introducing change. Getting people to accept the need for new ideas through good communication is a key element in the process of effecting change. Various communication models are considered, along with identifying within an organisation spheres of influence needed to implement ideas and change. Contingency plans are necessary when implementing ideas. One needs to anticipate the problems that will arise and the objections that will be raised. The importance of ‘potential problem analysis’ as a technique that can be used to good effect in this latter context is considered in the chapter.

Ideas are not readily implemented

Getting new ideas off the ground can meet considerable opposition, and it is important to recognise this before embarking on introducing change into an organisation.

It is easy to imagine that throughout history the ideas of original inventors were sufficient to start off some new development. However, it is obvious on deeper reflection that the inventions themselves, as well as those who produced them, would be bound to fail if there was no need, demand, or social basis for the ideas. As a consequence, it is not surprising that

Implementing ideas 101 many so-called inventions have been produced several times until eventually the time for their introduction has been appropriate. At the same time, developments in people’s ways of life, new social orders influencing production and demand, have stimulated inventors to work along certain lines. It may not therefore have been pure chance that the railway and steam engines reached maturity at about the same time, and that they were brought together for the first time in England, the country, at the time, where social and economic developments were more rapid than anywhere else in the world. ‘The locomotive is not the invention of one man,’ said Robert Stephenson, ‘but of a nation of mechanical engineers’ (Larsen, 1961: 125).

 
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