Move Your Organization through the Process of Change
"Problem: How do you deal with, and lead, the changes in an organization? Answer: You understand the process of change and apply it to the situation and person."
Whether you think email is dead or not, or if mobile is taking over, is irrelevant…the industry is changing and we have to manage that change. Our businesses are consolidating. Our organizations are growing into global companies and expanding. And, because of that our vendors are changing…and will continue to change. Unless you can tell the future, we’re all facing the same facts. As leaders, we are driving it and leading our teams through it.
Problem: How do you deal with, and lead, the changes in an organization?
Answer: You understand the process of change and apply it to the situation and person.
It's scientifically documented, we all go through the same process of change... no matter what the change... no matter who the person. Some people go through it smoother and faster than others. Some people get stuck in a step or two along the way... and maybe repeat it. Once you know these steps you can see it happening. You can identify who is stuck and who barrels right on through, almost seeming to jump over a step.
I've seen it listed a few different ways throughout different industries, but ultimately the information says pretty much the same thing. I use the steps this way:
- Statement of the change. You state the change. The plain and simple facts or the project to be done. Be very clear whether this is a brainstorming session where you are vetting out an idea, or if the decision to change has been made and it’s now time to implement.
- Complete resistance and adverse reaction to the change. The person receiving the change has the resistance. Sometimes it’s fierce, sometimes it’s passive. Other times it’s smooth. It all depends on the person and situation. Sometimes they get stuck in this step until they have the necessary information to move to the next one. It’s your job to find out their objections and overcome them. From my selling days I learned you have to overcome 5 objections to get to ‘yes’. It holds true in this situation, too.
- Acceptance of the change. This is the person mentally – and verbally - accepting the change will happen and will be done.
- The change itself. It’s not until this step that the change actually happens. They may accept it, but they may not DO it. Be aware of this. Acceptance and actual change are different steps.
- Result of the change. Identify and track your metrics at the beginning so you can identify the ROI and other impacts of this change. There will also be ‘soft’ results you can’t track with metrics. Be aware of these, too.
- The maintenance of the change. Maintenance and reinforcement is important. You have to practice something for it to stick. If you do not have this in place, the person, and by extension the organization, may revert back to old ways or habits.
Working in many corporate departments and coaching for so many years, I've seen people and teams go through it in many ways. It's always very interesting to me. At NI, as we led our team from a two person team to a global demand center, I sometimes saw it more times than I wanted. But each time, if I took a step back to reflect on what stage we, our team, or a person was experiencing, I was able identify the phase and understand the coaching needed to get us through to the next step. As you remember these steps you will be able to see where your teams, your leaders and your organizations are in this process. Be the change you want to see…understand the phases...and lead your teams through this process.
Share your experiences, and your failures, so the community can learn from experience. We all go through it and the more we share the better we get.