If you work in any organisation where people are involved, you will have seen change.
You know the cliches ; there is nothing more constant than change, the more things change the more they stay the same, if you’re not changing you’re going backwards…..
Books have been written about change, careers have been advanced or lost on the back of change projects and still we get it wrong again and again (mainly because we underestimate Point 1 below). I have compiled a list of lessons I have learnt about change – what are your lessons?
1. Change is all about people.
- Never underestimate the importance of people to ensure you successfully navigate change.
- If they are on-board it may work
- If they are not all on-board it will not
- Restructure is all about people
- Culture is all about people
- Mergers are all about people
- Assessing and responding to people needs strong leadership
- There is no place for wishy washy leadership or “nice” people who don’t want to address issues
2. People need to know where they are going
- Leading change requires you to understand the end goal and the reasons for change.
- Context is important
- Leadership is the ability to articulate and reinforce the vision
- Communicate the compelling opportunity (not the burning platform as we all used to do)
3. You cannot over communicate
- You must communicate with honesty and good intentions
- If you prevaricate you will get yourself into trouble
- Telling people the tough news is tough, and you may get immediate backlash, but they will appreciate it more than being strung along
- Planning sessions, training, change workshops where staff have not been told why they are there, or what the end goal is – never achieve the desired results.
- Constantly reinforce the vision and the story behind the change – take every opportunity
4. Understanding organisational culture is important
- For some, the current culture and way of doing things forms a strong powerbase and change is a threat.
- Culture takes a long time to change
5. Be prepared for things to go wrong
- Things do not always go according to plan
- People have not all read the same textbooks or gone to the same seminars as you
- If you understand points 1-4 – you will recover more easily.
- If you have a goal of taking care of people you will find the right solution
- If you know and can articulate the story you can bring people back to the purpose
- If you have communicated openly, honestly and fully , you can apologise and move forward
- If you understand the culture you can figure out what went wrong and why.