If you’re business hasn’t gone through tremendous change lately, congratulations! I knew there had to be one somewhere. For the rest of us, it seems like we’re in a state of constant change.
Not everybody deals with change well. Some people shut down. Some get angry. Some wander away (either mentally or physically). I’m convinced now that not only do we have to effect the change, but we have to manage the process of change. In other words, we have to teach change and make it OK and not something to dread. Because no matter what changes have occurred in our industry so far, we all know more change is coming.
So it’s really about creating a “culture of change” to adapt to whatever comes up next. This is so more than “doing more with less” or “adapting to new technology.”
Fish rots from the head
Leading change starts from the very top. It takes your full involvement. Before anyone else will do it, you have to personally embrace the change.
1. THINK HIPPOCRATIC OATH: FIRST, DO NO HARM
- How does this change impact the organization as a whole?
- Don’t label current way as wrong
If you say the current way is worth less, you are saying their work is worthless.
2. CHANGE IS PERSONAL
- Just because you say it, that doesn’t make it so
- Sell the need as an organization
- Sell the need personally — what do they get out of it?
Realize not everyone will understand — or want to understand. Make it OK for them to ask questions and show them what it means to them if they make the change. Often, we tell them the consequences of what will happen if they fail to adapt, but forget to talk about what they get out of it if they do.
3. CONNECT CHANGE TO STRATEGY
- Change for change’s sake = Failure
- Connect the change to the mission
Share the reasons behind the change, the risk of not changing, and the rewards.
4. INVOLVEMENT BEFORE COMMITMENT
- You must involve staff at every level
- You must get buy-in
- It takes group accountability to cement change
Thinking that takes too long? What’s the cost when it doesn’t work?
5. INSTANT CHANGE IS RARELY POSSIBLE
- Real change takes time
- Real change takes knowledge, learning, training, and practice
When do we get to practice and make mistakes? It’s why I “soft launch” just about everything. Do it without as little fanfare as possible and learn what works and doesn’t before unveiling it to the world.
6. POSITIVE CHANGE BEGATS MORE CHANGE
- When things go well, it’s easier to get the next thing done.
If things go badly, why should they trust you again?