Learn how individuals process changes in their workplace and the best ways you can help them adjust to change quickly and effectively. In this video, Bob McGannon shares his tips for working with stakeholders during a change initiative, including: how to avoid repeating the past, the different stresses that change brings, the common characteristics that motivate others. Managing organizational change is both a broad reaching discipline, and a one-on-one exercise.
- One of the best leadership tips I've ever received is "Know thyself." Only through truly knowing yourself and understanding your strengths and weaknesses can you surround yourself with the right people to maximize your effectiveness. The same thing is true with change managers. Understanding your own approach, biases, enthusiasm and apprehensions about change can help you work with others more effectively. Make sure you don't project your own perceptions about change to others.
They're unlikely to process change the same way you do. Here are some tips for personalizing change for individuals. First, help others understand it's often what they need to stop doing that's most important. This tip reminds me of a simple story of losing weight by exercising more. Exercising an hour a day is great, but that means you need to stop doing something else for an hour a day. What you'll stop doing is often the most difficult part.
Get that resolved in your mind, and the possibility that you'll fulfill your promise of exercising an hour a day is more likely. Second, realize that what's simple or traumatic for you is probably not the same for others. I had a friend who lost his daughter's goldfish in an unfortunate spilling accident. He was totally distraught. I was surprised by the degree of anxiety this created, as getting another goldfish the same size and color was not a problem.
"Why not just replace it?" I asked. He said the goldfish was the first thing his daughter had ever diligently taken care of. The idea that he killed the goldfish was devastating, even if he could replace it and his daughter might not know the difference. The moral of this story is that you cannot project what you think is trivial or traumatic on others. They need to process changes in their own way, and you need to accommodate that process. Next, understand what motivates you, but don't assume that same thing motivates others.
Money, prestige or recognition are often motivators, but they can also yield the opposite effect. When I worked with IBM, there was a person that reported to me whom I promoted. A standard practice in IBM was to publish promotions for the team, and then the organization at large. That recognition devastated this individual. She would've preferred to move on to the new position without the publicity. The lesson here, talk to your stakeholders and understand what motivates them before you take action relative to making change easier for them.
My last recommendation is a quick one. Tailor your change messages to accommodate individual needs. People have preferences about how they absorb information. Some are auditory and want to hear about your change plans. Others are better off experiencing a change. They wanna touch and feel what it'll be like once the change is finished, so prototypes are ideal for them. Others will want to see things presented visually. Create your change message in various forms and you're more likely to get buy-in from a greater percentage of your stakeholders.
So, you may be managing change for a group or an organization, but keep in mind that dealing with change is an individual experience. Follow these tips and you're more likely to help others know themselves and help them handle the changes you're proposing.
- Understanding the levels of change management
- Working through the five phases of change management
- Creating a change plan
- Communicating change
- Implementing change
- Managing risk
- Reinforcing change
- Evaluating the change
- Guiding individuals through change