I like the idea that change is mostly about Leadership.
As a practitioner I have discovered that genuinely involving staff in implementing the change is the key.
Put simply, leading others to change themselves works best in the long-term.
A useful summary of the process I generally follow:
- Establish a sense of purpose. What is there to gain / What happens to us if we do not act?
- Identify early adopters and work with them from day one. Involve everyone, yes everyone, at all levels. Spot the “negatives” and try to tune into and comment on their chatter. Adopt strategies to diffuse it.
- Create a “story” about what work will be like when the change has happened. A realistic, believable, deliverable story. Tell it to everyone, at all levels, every day, until you are thoroughly bored with hearing it. Then tell it some more.
- Communicate, communicate, communicate, in appropriate ways at all levels. Have the formal and verbal communications originating from the team where possible. Respond to all comments received.
- Free up the early adopters to act. Give them permission to do stuff that helps the change happen. Change is unsettling and unnerving, your permission will give the team confidence to act on their own ideas. Be ready to help out when they make a mistake, because they will.
- Take every opportunity to highlight short-term wins. Publicly, but most importantly, privately within the team and at one to one reviews.
- Consolidate all the improvements and at some point declare the change-process ended……. Then encourage the team to keep it going. They will do so even though the “end” has arrived.
- Make sure the new ways of working stick. Now is the time to target the remaining negative voices in the team.
Finally, when staff and managers say that they are afraid of change, what they usually mean is that they fear that change will be imposed upon them. They usually recognise that change will happen, but are unsure about what to do.
This is why change is really about good Leadership.
About the Author: Adam Blackie is a professional Interim Manager who leads service delivery teams through their change programmes. He works with CEO’s and their Boards in the UK to change the way technology is used by staff and their customers.