Lesson 3: Implementing Change
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In this lesson you will discover what is meant by organizational change, and why change is important to an organization. You'll look at some fundamental concepts for implementing change within any organization, and a few key quality principles to help you in this endeavor. You will also look at the Performance Management Process Model, and conclude with a brief discussion on ways to minimize the negative effects of change.

What is organization change?

Organizational Change is Important! Image source = Microsoft clipartFirst of all, what is organizational change? With most of corporate America restructuring, downsizing or "rightsizing", the mere mention of the word 'change' can bring negative connotations. However, if any organization is going to position itself to be a viable, credible force in the 21st Century, it must recognize the need to change. Organizational change can be defined as developing systematic approaches to improve the way an organization conducts its mission. Although we sometimes don't want to admit it, there are always better ways of doing our job. Think of change as an opportunity for improvement.

Why change?

Why change? What if someone told you that your product would go out 80 percent correct? Would that be good enough for you? How about 90 percent? What level of quality are you willing to accept? The point is we have to be striving to be the best. Since the Civil Air Patrol (CAP) is made up of such a diverse group of people with great ideas, there is no reason to accept the status quo. Accepting change is essential for you to be able to maximize your opportunities within CAP.

Fundamental concepts of implementing change

Implement change to improve the organization, not just for change sake. Image source =  Microsoft clipart.In order to implement change, you have to start with some basics. Change requires more than just time. You've got to be willing to increase training, document new processes and procedures, and allow teams to learn, grow, and make mistakes. We must constantly work and apply new techniques, methods, and ideas. If we don't, we risk reverting back to past behaviors.

There are two kinds of change:

Change as a result of external influences (like reductions in our budget, which affects the resources of our organization). We cannot control this type of change, but it does influence internal change.

Change as a result of internal influences (like our own restructuring initiatives, which may redistribute resources). This type of change we can control.

Before we discuss the Performance Management Process model for implementing change, it is worth noting a few of the quality principles that provide a road map to help us reach our goals. They are leadership involvement, dedication to the mission, respect for the individual, decentralized organization, management by fact, and empowerment. These principles are not just a haphazard collection of good ideas; they are essential to your understanding of operationalizing quality and where you impact the Performance Management process.

Performance Management Process Model

Performance Management is the Air Force's construct for a continual performance improvement system that focuses on mission accomplishment and is applicable to the Civil Air Patrol. Components used with the Performance Management process are goals, priorities, mission essential tasks (METs), performance measures, and standards, and task assurances. Performance Management employs a plan, do, and assess approach to operationalizing quality and addresses the requirements for goals and performance measures.

The Performance Management Model graphically depicts the phases of Performance Management. Take the time to click on each of the sections in the Performance Management Process model for a more detailed description of each of the subjects.

A link to a brief explaination of the Performance Management Model A link to a brief description of PLAN A link to a brief description of DO A link to a brief description of ASSESS A link to a brief description on Operational Assessments A link to a brief description on Compliance Assessments
Reprinted by permission of Headquarters Air Force Officer Accessions Training School.

Plan, Do, and Assess can only benefit our overall operations when supported by a fundamental commitment to continuous improvement. Our core value of "excellence in all we do" speaks to the degree our organization has internalized our need to be second to none. We cannot afford to limit our improvement efforts to just the unit level—we must share improvement strategies and innovative ideas with all units of the Civil Air Patrol to generate the best value for our improvement efforts.

How to make organizational change less threatening

People tend to resist change because they do not want to step out of their comfort zone—they like to stay in an environment they are comfortable with. There are a few things that can be done to help minimize the negative impact of change.

1. Effective communication—it is important for the management to communicate the reason for the change, and the positive impact the change will have on the organization (and the people).

2. Team building—developing a cohesive team builds confidence in the team members, and they are willing to accept change as they work towards a common goal.

3. Time to adapt—give the members of the organization time to adjust to the changes you are recommending.

4. Show resolve—be committed to implementing new ideas. This will help foster creative thinking from the members within the organization.


We must embrace change within the Civil Air Patrol to ensure we do not become complacent and allow our organization to decline. Change is positive if it is focused on process improvement. Tracking and assessing performance is a continuous and deliberate process that takes place at all levels. As our performance targets (goals) are redefined with each iteration of the Performance Management Process to assure continuous improvement of our mission performance. Thus as we improve, we need to "raise the bar" in succeeding iterations of performance standards to make the Civil Air Patrol the best organization it can be.

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Last Revised 03/22/00