Bringing about a change, on a team or organizational level, requires careful planning, patience and a great deal of persistence … even when the change makes perfect sense from a rational perspective. There are lots of good, workable change management models and tools available and we, at Summit, have used several. We’ve recently begun to work with a great model that is backed up by a very realistic and engaging computer simulation. The ExperienceChange© model describes 7 main steps for planning and implementing a change initiative that will stick. The model is influenced by the works of Kurt Lewin, John Kotter and David Nadler. A main focus is on creating that often-elusive commitment from the people involved.
Here are the steps we’ll take you through in the next few postings:
The first 3 steps deal with planning the initiative. Let’s start with Step 1, Understand.
- Understanding the need for change … the market, the business environment, one’s own organization and the problem itself … is a critical early step. This includes gathering and sharing information, usually at a senior level in the organization, by engaging with employees, customers and competitors It is especially important to get these parts right: a. Who will be affected? and, b. What is the issue or problem we want to address? (The root causes, not the symptoms.)
- Enlist your core change team. This involves finding your ‘champion’ as well as 5 or 6 others who have their fingers on the pulses of your organization, your customers and your sector (at the very least). Bring together a diverse group of people who have power, informal influence (leadership!), expertise, high credibility and good management skills. These people will need to work together to develop a compelling vision of the future, and show unwavering commitment to making it happen.
- Envisage. Your core team must now describe your destination and the path in simple terms. What is the desired future for your organization and how will you get there? How will you describe it in a way that resonates with all the stakeholders?
These first three steps are no small deal. They set a strategic direction for the change and get buy in from important people at the top. But the real work begins as you try to get buy in from the rest of your stakeholders and begin the ‘heavy’ lifting. We’ll look at that in the next blog.
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Change happens to every one of us, every day: in our work; in our personal lives; in the lives of those around us. Some of us love it. Some of us hate it … even when it’s in our best interests. Some of us see it coming and embrace the inevitability of it all. Some of us get ambushed by it and struggle to stay on our feet.
In bringing about organizational change, leaders need a sound understanding of emerging markets, technologies and business practises. But it is the human/emotional dimensions to change that will make or break a change initiative. Learn to navigate the human aspects of the change process, on personal and organizational levels, and you will succeed where so many fail.
Understanding ‘change’ comes first. A number of researchers have contributed simple models to help us understand a person’s typical reactions to change. Cynthia Scott and Dennis Jaffe produced a change grid that describes how people tend to deny change initially (“What!? This can’t be happening!”), and then move toward resisting change, actively or passively. (“There’s no way I’m using that new platform!” or, “If I just keep my head down here, no one will notice I haven’t moved to the new office in Kathmandu …”). Eventually, one hopes, people will switch their focus from the past to the future and start to explore the possibilities. (“Maybe that stunning view of the Himalayas from my office window won’t be so bad …”). Finally, they see what’s in it for them, commit to the change and become productive again. They see it as a good move and embrace their new reality. (“Hey, I’ll be able to climb mountains on weekends!”). The Janssen “Four Room Apartment” model and Haines’ “Roller Coaster of Change” Model (Haines Centre of Strategic Management) also speak to the stages of change. They provide useful roadmaps for understanding personal reactions to unwanted or unexpected change. They also provide suggestions for helping people adapt and commit to change.
Your change plan should include workshops to help people understand the process of Navigating Change. It will create the capacity for broad buy in; something that is essential for successful implementation.
In the next blog we’ll break down the process of leading change into 5,782 simple steps. Just kidding; we’ll get you through it in seven steps drawn for the ExperienceChange© model.
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Here are two statistics that recently found their way to my inbox.
“70 % of all change initiatives fail to deliver on their promises.”
“Only 17% of those surveyed (765 businesses and earning professionals) rated their organizations highly effective in managing change initiatives.” (Association for Talent Development report, The Role of Organizational Learning in Change Development.)
In my experience, these statistics appear to represent today’s reality. It seems that, despite lots of talk and study over the past 20 years, we are not getting better at this important organizational activity. Why?
I believe one reason is the enormous challenge of learning how to do it right. (By right, I mean in a way that generates effective tactics and full implementation, but also creates buy in across the board.) How can an organization’s core change team learn to effectively bring about change when the time frames are so long, the learning curve is so steep and the risks associated with failure are so high?
We at Summit Team Building, have some answers. Through the award-winning ExperienceChange computer simulation, your leaders and managers can become experts at creating meaningful and lasting change. They will gain a year’s worth of valuable experience in one day … before your organization’s survival is on the line.
We’ll share some of the models and tools for change in the next few blogs, and let you know how you can become of those all-too-rare organizations that excel at change.
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