The change enemy
Change is everywhere, and it is quickly becoming the norm. As a result, many leaders are going through change at some level and at some scale.
The thing about change is that it is not a sausage machine, and no cookie-cutter approach would make it work. Also, what does “make it work” actually mean?
In many cases, I have seen change mimic the structure of a project. Tasks, workstreams, Gantt charts and loads of deliverables. Yet, despite the best intentions, long hours, and burnout, change doesn’t stick or get adopted. It can feel like the organization has not fully swallowed the pill and is still stuck somewhere.
This might mean:
- A phase 2 or 3
- Extend the timeline
- The “W” word; Workaround
- Find a scapegoat
- Get an experienced consultant
- Forget about it!
So, you might be asking, why so? Why didn’t the change work?
There are many reasons why change doesn’t get adopted. One of the common root causes is that sometimes change is seen as a set of tasks and mechanical transitions from one thing to another.
The robotic and mechanical change practice is the organization’s worst enemy
The gateways of change
Change operates differently than the usual traditional mainstream thinking. Change is multi-dimensional, non-linear, and complex (reminds me of Business Transformation – a topic for another day)
Change goes through multiple gateways so that it can be adopted. It is a mix of Doing and Being. It is a mix of tasks and relationships. A mix of content and context. A mix of actions and emotions. It has multi-focus points between people, culture, process, emotions, systems etc.
Change would not exist if it wasn’t for the people
Think about it! If we deliver change to robots and Skynet (Terminator movie), we wouldn’t need any change experts. The change is deployed and embedded with a click of a button – easy!
And because people are at the heart of change, this means: Change is deeply personal…
You are in the business of helping people change to create a better future, which makes change very personal.
For change to get adopted, it needs to pass through 3 gateways which are:
Head, heart, and wellbeing
The first gateway that Change goes through is being able to convince peoples’ heads. In other words, make sure that you are answering the following:
- Does the change make sense?
People will try to make sense of the change. It is essential at this stage to make the purpose and the “Why” clear.
- Do I understand it?
People will seek to understand the change. What matters here is clarity of direction and choice of language. It is essential to speak and communicate in different ways to the various groups of people impacted by the change.
- Am I part of it?
People want to be seen and heard in the change process. No one wants to be forced into change or have things dictated to them. They want to be part of the journey.
The second gateway is the heart. Emotions and how people feel about the change and how you continue to make them feel is a make-it-or-break for change.
It is a subtle thing that is very easy to miss and overlook. Because simply speaking, it is not something that is visible, and most people don’t talk about it.
Sadly, considering emotions and how people feel before, during and after the change is not something that is very well thought of and taken seriously.
Emotions are so powerful. Successful change integrates into its fabric emotions and emotional culture.
Some of the aspects to be considered are:
- Is the change threatening me in any way?
Change that is threatening is not a good change. If the change is unclear, people will fill in the gaps with worst-case scenarios. A change that threatens one’s job or status will not go anywhere.
- Do I smell BS?
People have a built-in sensor for smelling any BS when leaders don’t tell them what is truly happening, when only half the truth is said or when leaders are not transparent enough about how they are going about the change.
- Is it for me or against me?
Make it about them (and it should really be about them)
- Is it inspiring? Is it a good change?
People want to be part of something inspiring. Something they are proud to talk about when they are amongst friends and family
At the heart of any good change is to move to a better situation, a better future, and better ways of working. And because people are at the heart of change, you must consider their physical and mental well-being.
If the change affects their wellbeing negatively, it will make it hard for you to get your change done and embedded. One common symptom of this is workarounds.
When workarounds start to come into play a few days after the change has been deployed and people are complaining about why things won’t work and will never work. Things that you, as the change leader, may have never heard of or brought to your attention when the program was running.
The wellbeing gateway is so vital and creates a different level of deeply rooted and empathetic change that allows you to move faster in your change agenda in the long run.
Some of the things to consider:
- Will I be acknowledged and appreciated?
- Will this change make my work easier?
- To be effective in this change, what is the gap between where I am and where I need to be? (The bigger the gap, the more challenging the change will be)
- Will my general wellbeing be compromised (Working hours, working arrangement, location, setup,…)?
Change that works
These gateways are not linear and will need to be addressed as a package when it comes to designing and enabling change.
The 2 aspects of creating a change that works are combining the “Doing” side of change, which most of us are familiar with (the technical side: methodology, framework, deliverables, tools, ..), with the “Being” side of the change which is mostly about the 3 gateways.
The intersection and integration of these 2 aspects are where the real impact comes to life.
Below is a framework diagram that summarizes the “change that works” from my program, Transformation Mastery
To make change work, people need to be in the full front of change.
Change is incredibly personal, and no amount of deliverables, newsletters, communication materials or marketing campaigns will make it stick until you take people seriously and go deep with them.
How can I help you get there?
I work with transformation and change leaders to help them with their mindset, delivery and capabilities to become more impactful in delivering real change and allow them a seat at the table.
Many transformation leaders are stuck in the doing side of things but realize the importance of being more and know they can be more. These are the leaders that I care about and want to work with to help them move into becoming more impactful transformers. Without the expensive mistakes, loss of opportunities, getting stuck in the weeds, burnout, doing more of the same or having to be in a role that forces you to play small.
In my one-on-one Trnaformation Mastery program, we work together to expand your perspective, think differently, work on what matters, adopt a more impactful mindset, integrate the tools and techniques into a meaningful practical tool kit to use in your day to day activities, and be able to navigate your way easier into a better and faster transformation.
This week, 2 more spots have opened, and I am looking for the next transformation and change superstar leaders who want to be more, earn more and have a bigger impact.
If that is of interest, reach out for a chat.
I would love to hear your thoughts and comments. Thank you for your time!
Get in touch with me by commenting below or email me at Success@PeopleofTranormation.com