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Information Technology  WAITING FOR YOUR ROI?
Institutions Profile  IBA CONVOCATION



Faculty Member Management Sciences
ISRA University
April 22 - 28, 2002

'Two stone cutter in the middle ages were asked what they were doing: " I am cutting the damned stone into a square", one of them answered. "I'm working on a cathedral", the other one responded."

The transformation of emphasis from the stone cutter to the employee building the cathedral is the essence of internal marketing. There appears to be one surprising, yet vital casualty: the power of the spoken word to inspire or to articulate the noble aims of people.

Future inevitably bring change and there cannot be a finite thing in dynamic conditions. Organizations have to adapt and modify if they are to survive in the environment of the future. It is management's responsibility to prepare the organization for the future Change in the environment create opportunities and threats; but most of the organizations respond by matching their strength in terms of financial and other physical resources to maximize their strengths and minimize its weaknesses. The organizations who ineffectively manage the change are those who fail to implement the change in a way that secures acceptance. They do not give consideration to the behaviour of people and how do they react i.e. is there any hostility, fear conflict and other symptoms of dissatisfaction like absenteeism or employee turnover?

If organizations have to manage change successfully they should embark on internal marketing programmes (IMP). Lets bring in a simple definition of internal marketing to do with " It is the use of a marketing approach in the internal environment of organization, whose employees are seen as customers and have to be persuaded to buy into management ideas." Internal marketing is about the manner in which plans and change are "sold" to those they affect. Of course in today's business world there exists marketing oriented companies in which the natural planning cycle considers the needs of the external customers first but if not more equally important are the internal customers too i.e. company's employees. Recognizing that employees are an important market segment in their own right is increasing. Positive relationships should be maintained with employees at all times but this becomes more important when a change is to be introduced. It could be a change in infrastructure, change in support systems like compensation, policies or performance reviews or even a start of a new project. People adapt to the new order more quickly and with less resistance if they are informed, educated and trained about it by using key skills like Persuasion, negotiation and politics. However these key skills should be utilized by keeping the psychology of change in mind.

People go through three main phases of handling profound change.




Recognizing these needs and taking the appropriate steps to help people through each one greatly speeds the change and lessens the trauma involved with it because they quickly see that your commitment to the new way is real and won't disappear tomorrow morning.

Managers should always understand that it is natural for people to resist change and they must never lose sight of the fact that their success depends on people. And for that matter they must recognize the behavioural factors which might influence people to resist change. Those factors may be of various types. For instance there may be a fear of personal loss if there is a plan for downsizing or transfer of duties in terms of security, money, status or friends and contacts. Some people may believe that change will do more harm than good like changes in performance reviews or they may feel that the change is a personal criticism of what the individual has been doing. Another big reason could be that lack of respect for the person initiating the change. This involves no set of worries if only ensured by managers that they are in a position to plan for it in terms of a well-designed IMP.

IMP involves identifying those employees who could be the influential supporters and opponents of change ready to bring in. These two groups would be the internal target market of the company for whom it will tailor a product i.e. any new plan or change the management wants to implement. And in the same manner when companies manufacture new products and devise a special promotional plan to promote it, clear communications have a vital role to play in establishing success in internal marketing plan. All this involves presentations, training workshops, discussion groups, written reports or magazines printed only for internal circulation. All such activities should present a shared vision for the employee group to communicate and train them. The managers should sell the benefits through success stories in the company newsletter, employee of the month awards etc. All praising words should be supported by action for example the MD rewarding best practice and reviewing the customer feedback comments.

If this doesn't help and still there are negative attitudes and a large number of opponents then managers should leave a room for negotiation to trade off with vested interest.

Within organizations, political behaviour can be either desirable or undesirable. Often this depends on perspective. Good strategies can flounder on the rocks of political self-interest and behaviour. There should be an establishment of interest parties and then considering their comfort zones. What do they value, fear or tolerate? And then managers should work within these zones. Coalitions could be build and opposition should be invited to contribute because sometimes people are furious on the point "We weren't asked". Remember, the art of politics is about influencing people when you cannot rely on direst authority. By considering the political dimension related to the project it is possible to gauge resistance and support, develop justification and counter agreement in advance of critical decisions.

If organizations do not just want to let future happen but want to influence it in a positive manner then there should be a coherence between the plans of management behaviours of employees who would be the ultimate implementers. Attitudes have to change if processes are to change if you do the job you always did, there will not be any change. Successful change is like levelling a 3 legged stool; you need to get all three legs at the same time if you don't want to fall on your backside when you try to sit on it.

Internal marketing helps managers to lead and model the new behaviours more consistently and more effectively and for that matter it should be treated with equal importance. After all motivated, trained and developed of employees can live through an epoch of greater professionalism.