Change or die?

‘Change or die’ is a sentence we hear regularly in the course change management. Throughout history, change was absolutely necessary to avoid a disadvantageous end. It has been around since the beginning of time. Change is, in essence, moving from a current state to a future state. It always starts from within, but is often stimulated from without; your direct and indirect environment.

Within our industry, change is inevitable and a requirement for survival. Most competitors grow at enormous speed and customers create more complex demands quickly. Theme parks are now becoming multi-day destinations and new rides are opened every year to keep fascinating the visitors. Innovations are continuous. The parks sense a high urgency to change and adapt to the market, the entire industry is highly sensitive to change.

In an organisation, change is not always welcomed with open arms. The mind usually resists change. The first biological reaction is to fight, freeze or flight. Then, the infamous stages of processing are undergone; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Reactions are sometimes unpredictable. Planning is therefore, most of the time, not the biggest challenge.

In any industry, dealing with change is undoubtedly of high importance. To build a more stable management basis, the course is integrated in the program for ATPM. We study the topic through lectures and literature. In addition, we acquire practical experience by having a real life project. Our commissioner for change management is Duinrell.

Duinrell, located in Wassenaar, is a leisure company aimed to provide people with entertainment and accommodation through their products. The organisation includes a holiday park, an attraction park and a swimming pool (Tikibad). Their vision is translated to the following: ‘Being the most complete recreational property where family pleasure is standing central.’ The property attracts mostly families, and therefore attempts to offer attractions for all ages. The park welcomes approximately 1.4 million unique visitors a year.

The ATPM students operate as professional change agents during this project. Five different departments of Duinrell are open for research and implementation of change. The various tools to be applied are explained by five teachers; Margo Askes, Goof Lukken, Monique Schulte, Bart Stadhouders and Hans Rozemeijer. We are free to choose the research methodologies and change approaches. In the meantime, we are guided by Goof Lukken. Final presentations of our findings were on the 19th of June.

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