As a serial Change Manager, here is an often overlooked suggestion which works.
Firstly, determine why you want to change. Is it a product / service development, restructure of your people and or an improvement in a process. What is the real measurable benefit, is it tangible or are you changing for its own sake. Are there management or political ego’s at work?
Lets assume you are aiming for an incremental benefit for your customers and the business stakeholders. Now you need to get your people engaged and to be part of the change. You need to create and implement change management plans that minimize employee resistance and maximize employee engagement.
In every business there are two major forces at work within the teams:
- Pro-change forces aiming for the benefits typified by smoother processes, lower cost, improved products, more sales leads and higher business returns.
- Change resisters challenging anything that upsets the status quo, the day to day routines, historical processes and corporate traditions.
This is the real challenge to change, it’s not about processes or profit creation, it’s about inspiration and motivation. This bridges the gap between the pro change and the no change camps in the organisation.
People need to understand the “why “of change and the benefits it delivers. They don’t need to be told what to do and how to do it. They need to be encouraged to make the change happen for themselves.
As much as teams understand that change is now a constant, they frequently resist it because they have become “change fatigued”, so you need a change champion who can articulate and support the change process with a credibility that they identify with.
Unlike mission or vision statements, which all too frequently, end up as posters adorning corporate walls, a change initiative needs to become part of the corporate energy. Use it to encourage a work smarter not harder environment [80/20 rule]. The team needs to feel that it will enhance their working experience and that it gives them a reason to get up and come to work. They must want to implement change opportunities instead of fearing them and blocking progress.
The secret – coaching front-line managers and supervisors to help teams through transitions.
Change is a lot like any other lifestyle choice, to achieve your goals, we frequently need a coach/trainer to help us overcome our inertia and resistance to changes.
Many managers would employ a gym coach to train themselves through the initial pain and resistance to achieve the fitness goals they set for themselves. So why do so many ignore this support for their teams at work?
When we work with a coach or mentor we accelerate our progress because we feel that we have real help to achieve our goals. Whether it’s a sport, hobby or career, coaching accelerates the changes and we all perform better.
But doesn’t this cost a fortune in coaching fees at a time when saving every penny is essential? – No, coaching is something that all managers can do for their own teams. We need to take time out from managing and make time for coaching. It is one of the best ways to support your teams during a change at work, and in the long run a successful change is far less cost and effort than an unsuccessful one.
Have a great week.
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.