Change: Make it happen, Managing it, part II
Change is a part of being alive. There’s no escaping it. In the time it takes you to read this sentence, something changed inside you and in the world around you. Yet, some people resist change. Others are unsure how to manage it. Here are some tips.
The New Year is a time to think about changes. But, change is always a part of being alive. There’s no escaping it. In the time it takes you to read this sentence, something changed inside you and in the world around you.
Some people resist change. Others are unsure how to manage it. Here are the next steps on change and change management.
5. Communicate: Just as change is continual, so is your communication about it. Simply telling people that the change is going to happen, setting a time line and taking action is not enough. No one can predict how a change will roll out. Life goes on. The change you kicked off with a big fanfare will not stand out weeks later unless you keep it fresh.
As a leader you can do this by noting accomplishments, re-emphasize the urgency and recognize those change champions. Also, you acknowledge difficulties. Your communication about the difficulties should be solution focused and forward thinking. Problems are not a reason to retreat; they are a reason to implement more change.
You might say, “We were not able to bring as many people or devices on-line as quickly as we thought. In response, we are re-negotiating with our supplier and providing more training for staff members.” Doing this increases your credibility and leverage to bring change. You are not sugar-coating the challenge. But, you are not deterred by it either.
6. Celebrate small steps: Changes come in all sizes. No matter what size, change does not happen all at once. Even a simple change may take a while till it becomes part of the culture of the organization.
To nurture and sustain change, celebrate small steps. Doing so helps your team notice the movement forward and gives them a sense of accomplishment.
There are many ways to do this. You can link the celebration to a step in the change plan or to a time frame. A new procedure may have 5 stages and you can acknowledge the completion of stage 1, 2 and so forth. Or maybe recognize the 1 month or 3 month anniversary of the change.
Special calendar events are also occasions for change celebrations. Maybe your change connects to a local or national event or a significant public figure. You you can use the occasion to note the event and point out the connection between it and your change project.
We spoke before about change champions. You can create these champions by commending those who have embraced the change process and what they have accomplished. Even small recognitions of this sort are appreciated and further strengthen your role as leader of change.
7. Create a Culture of change:
Previous posts have covered 6 steps in change management. They are not sequential. They are interconnected. They are all part of creating a culture of change. What is culture? Culture is a combination of visible behaviors, beliefs and values, and underlying assumptions.
The leader uses these six steps to address each aspect of the team culture. By speaking about the continuity of change (#1) and sharing the why (#2) the leader challenges assumptions. By creating a sense of urgency (#3) and celebrating change champions (#5) the leader reinforces values. Celebrating small steps (#6) highlights the behaviors that make change visible. And through it all, communication (#4) is the leader’s means to reach the goal of creating and sustaining a culture of change.
Pacing is important. Don’t throw one change after another without a chance to consolidate and rest. But, change is continual and inevitable. It is a challenge and an opportunity. There is only one way to go. Forward.
Would you like to share your thoughts with us on these interconnected change management steps? We would be happy to interact with you. Please use the comment section below to engage us.