“Change is easy for those driving it and hard for those being driven by it.” – Anyone but me
Change Leaders …
- Understand change from strategic and tactical perspectives.
- Accept short term failures as part of long term success.
- Communicate through any and every channel.
- Embed themselves into the fabric of the organization and become an active member of multiple communities.
- Learn and Share.
- Know when to stop.
- Know when to push.
- Understand the differences between collective intelligence and individual intelligence.
Change leaders can only be successful if the structure and culture of the organization is engaged in a change practice.
Structure being – Functions and organization in management hierarchy and responsibilities.
Culture being- Interaction between people in peer to peer and/or relationships between manager / leader and staff. Culture deals with human factors of cognitive, physical and social relations.
Jim says “You have to come to the realization that there are times, we must self-amputate.” Organizational cuts are painful and sometimes needed but they become important when other options have been exhausted. – Jim Knight
Change is hard.
Change isn’t a program which can be handled by basic high level steps and initiatives. Change is much more fluid and adaptive. Change leaders have to sense and respond to events constantly adjusting activities and behavior. That isn’t to say that we don’t make plans.
Imagine for a moment that you are planning a road trip across the country, you may decide on places to stop for fuel, food and rest. While you are on the road, that 64 ounce bottle of water really got to you and you may have to alter your plans adjust and pull over for a bio break. It is the same kind of idea. Planning and goal setting is important but you have to be flexible.
In consideration of the same road trip, it is possible that some family members didn’t want to go. What would you do to help them accept and possibly even enjoy the trip?
Clarity and communication is a basic constant. Clearly discussing and sharing the mission, vision, scope and objective of change. Why is change needed? What are the costs of keeping things the same?
What happens when you refuse to change? What happens to the company if we refuse to change?
Change leaders work across an organization to connect ideas and people as part of a community. Change leaders have to constantly change, learn, grow and adapt themselves.
The average time spent at a job is now 4 years. Depending on your frame of mind and tolerance for risk, this could be a good thing. If we consider the personal benefits in our individual time to competency or time to mastery, change or shifting roles / job in 3-5 years will increase our overall knowledge, skills and ability. Staying in a job (may) decrease our ability. In the chart below, educators are normally on the B curve.
If you are reading this in Sept 2017, you will note that Donald Trump is president, we are on the brink of war with a few radical countries, “Cash me outside” is a thing that is making millions of dollars by being rude and disrespectful, massive hurricanes are becoming normal, earthquakes, volcano erupting, and a super planet was prophesized to hit the earth and cause the rapture a few days ago.
Wow.. seriously.. wow.. especially that “Cash me outside” nonsense.
So, the issue is | change at a higher level whether it be organizational or other becomes personal. When it impacts “me” is when change is an issue.
People deal with change (generally) in three ways.
- Perceive themselves as independent of the facts.
- Feel threatened with hostile situations they can’t handle.
- Panic and respond with “fight or flight.”
- Become fatalistic.
- Oversimplify the world into good or bad, limiting their alternatives.
- Are never happy and complain about everything.
- Become pessimistic and cynical about management’s intentions.
- React by waiting for change to overtake and crush them.
- Believe they are at the mercy of circumstances they cannot change.
- Believe they can survive the change if they simply “hold on” or become competitive with other employees.
- Convince themselves that “grasping” and “clinging” are necessary for self protection.
- Respond with anticipation to what is coming and behave accordingly.
- Face the pain of change and take a proactive approach.
- Create a vision of the desired future.
- Gather pertinent information and assertively pursue the vision.
- Manage the stress of change well by cultivating a belief in their own ability to deal competently with the situation.
- Believe in being the cause and influences of events rather than the victim.
Point Being.. change sucks..
Going through change and dealing with it or leveraging it may be difficult, there is a good chance things will be better at the end of the change story. That being said, I don’t want Niribu to hit the earth right now, that just wouldn’t be cool.
New or Different?
All the cartoons and quotes won’t make any of this better. It is hard work to go through a change practice and more often change initiatives fail. The catch is that there really shouldn’t be a change campaign. Change happens and should be communicated so that individuals have a higher level of awareness. Companies hire people today on long term contracts. This means that people for the most part are all contractors. It is always a temp job. The catch is how long can we as individuals maintain our relevance. It is also important for the organization to maintain, grow and raise (organizational intelligence / competency).
It feels like a one way relationship to people because something is “happening to me” but really it is a multi-dimensional relationship. Something is happening to the company and to all the people in it. Something is happening to senior leaders. Something is happening to managers at the mid-level and something is happening to subject matter experts. The difference is “awareness.”
If I were to add anything to the ADKAR model, it would be “Transparency” because people simply want to be respected and informed. In general, people just want to understand what the heck is going on and why. Even if it is bad news, they can be better prepared to help as opposed to being in the dark.
We don’t know..
Change management and knowledge management go hand in hand. Many companies survive change and many do not. Even large companies fail to deal with change and wind up dying. When going through change, everyone has to be open to possibilities and realize that a fixed destination is not a specific target as much as it is a range of possibilities. Operational awareness, organizational transparency and clear relevant communication are the factors for success. We can’t know what the end of the story will look like as it has yet to have been written.