Here at Excellent Outcomes, we work in the business of “transforming your business”. Over the next few weeks we will be sharing the steps of change and our learnings to help you make change happen effectively in your business or organisation.
Are you creating an effective climate for change?
Many leaders are quite effective at building the rational case for change, but are less effective in appealing to people’s emotions. Yet employees’ emotions are where the momentum for real transformation ultimately lies.
Change management communications need to be targeted to each part of the workforce, and delivered in such a way that allows people to make sense of the change, ask questions and talk through the changes.
People are creatures of habit who are typically resistant to changing the way things are done, their thinking and behaviour.
The model below demonstrates the phases employees go through during organisational change:
Think about organisational or business changes you’ve seen or been a part of. How can you relate to some of these emotions and the impact the change had on employee emotions?
Building a case for the need to change
Change will be extremely difficult if leaders and/or managers rely only on building a case to the rational, analytical, problem-solving side of the brain. Instead, they must also make an emotional case for change and align the rational and emotional elements to build the “need for change”.
If you are asking employees to adapt to a new way of doing things, a new reality, they need to understand the emotional case for the change so they can feel committed to the transformation.
It can’t be presented as another “program” that they will have to live through, a “flavor of the month”. Employees will potentially fail to hop on board with the change as “if we resist enough it will go away”. Bringing the details of what will change – and what won’t – what the change is – and isn’t, into the presentation allows leaders to paint a clear picture of what the change means for employees personally (the what’s in it for me/how does this impact me) not only why it benefits the business or organisation.
The fact is that most change initiatives are done “to” employees, not implemented “with” them or “by” them. Although leaders are pushing behavior change from the top and expecting it to cascade through the formal structure, an informal culture left to instinct and chance will likely dig in its heels and resist or even hijack the change.
Next week we’ll take you through the first two steps of creating a climate for change and we’ll share some of our learnings with you. Until then…