Imposed Change versus Opportunistic ChangeThere are two kinds of changes that can happen: those that you look for and those that take place unexpectedly, which may be devastating. In companies, typically, people are not seeking the changes that take place. They don’t tend to come with a signpost and sometimes seem to happen overnight. Often, leaders don’t realize what it feels like for the people who weren’t involved in creating that change. The personnel who must deal with the change may experience a “Fight or Flight” response before accepting the change that has been imposed unless there is careful, consistent, and effective communication from the top leadership. We also tend to think, just by communicating, that it’s the same as engaging. While you need both, communication and engagement are not the same. People experience “change-fatigue” because of the rapid rate at which things change. This should be a sign to organizations to engage and communicate with their employees to create acceptance. “You need always to be very aware of an organization’s culture and the way things are done because people are emotionally attached to it.”
Psychological Safety AnchorsWhen organizations recognize the ‘human-ness” of the people who must enact that change, they are better positioned to tap the existing culture; to acknowledge it, and find the parts of that culture that are the most complementary to the change that’s being introduced. In that way, the current culture can act as an accelerant to the change. Not everything has to happen all at once. Treating people like people, rather than interchangeable cogs in the machine will serve so much better in the long run. Giving them areas of stability that are not changing, can offer emotional safety anchors to help them adjust more quickly to those aspects that are most needed for the success of the change. “When you are asking people to make changes – you have to ask yourself how you can reward people for their efforts. People are motivated in different ways, and money is not always the most powerful tool.”
Five Keys for Success1 – Find the Influencers Every organization has influencers who may not actually be part of the leadership. Identifying these resources early and making sure they are on board can make a massive difference to the initiative’s success. These ‘change agents’ can also be the same people who make change toxic for the organization. So, the more you know about the individuals in your organization, the more you’re able to identify the pivot makers. How to find the right influencers:
- Know your people – because leaders are not always the influencers
- Understand the culture and values of the influencers
- Value your influencer – when there is contempt towards the leader it creates a toxic environment and can have an effect on the team.