Three easy steps for managing change

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Three easy steps for managing change

A short blog on change management, based on Stewart Black book “It starts with one”. I liked his straight forward approach to managing change. Like myself he is also an advocate of the 80/20 approach. Focus on the 20% effort to create 80% result. The book is full of examples of successful and unsuccessful change. For effective change, focus on countering 3 change management traps:

  • Failure to see
  • Failure to start
  • Failure to finish

Failure to see

Failure to see is not only about others, but it also starts with yourself. Do you ‘see’ the required change. You need perceptual acuity to ‘see’. Perceptual acuity is your environmental radar. It is your radar for seeing through the fog of uncertainty so you can act (change) before others do.
To make others ‘see’ you need to create a clear map of the new right thing.
How do you act for others to ‘see’.  Do you give others enough time? Envisioning is an important leadership skill to make others see.
For others to ‘see’ you need to create contrast and confrontation between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’.
If you cannot make people see the need to change, all the time and money spend on structure, pay, communication and systems will be wasted.
Only 10 to 15% of New-Year resolutions are followed through. If people cannot change their own behavior, you can imagine the failure rate trying to change ‘others’ behavior.

Failure to move

Resistance to change comes from our desire to “hang on to the old”. Things we know how to do well and which has given us success for many years. The longer the old path has been successful, the more difficult it becomes to change. Nobody likes to move from being competent (in the wrong thing) to being incompetent (in the new right thing). This is known as the competency gap. Identify what is needed to bridge the gap.

Failure to finish

Change agents are required to reinforce the right behavior and encourage people to stay in track. Change agents need to be selected high on strategic traction and social influence.

Information on progress can be done via a change dashboard.
Avoid words like ‘pilot’. It implies that it is a non-committed try-out. Upon failure, we can return to the old. Use wording like ‘launch site’.
For a sustained change, you need positive net consequence = perceived value minus cost.