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.