Leading Inspiration: Q & A About Change Management

Q: We have so much change going on at work. Some employees seem to “go with the flow,” while others seem to resist any suggestions. What can I do to help employees deal with change?

A: “The only person entirely comfortable with change is a wet baby.”

This short quote says a great deal. Very few people quickly embrace change. This relates to not only their work history, but also their personal history. Some of us have grown up and been in a work world where change is the norm; others of us have not. Change can be seen as exciting and as a new challenge, or as threatening one’s security. Here are a few points to keep in mind.

Why is Change Difficult?

• Fear of unknown

• Comfortable with status quo

• Don’t see the need

• Tradition

• Investment in status quo


Why is Change Embraced?

• Looking for advancement

• Exciting

• New opportunities

• Challenge

• Pioneering spirit

• Discontent with status quo


Individual Change Building Blocks

• Awareness

• Desire

• Knowledge

• Ability

• Reinforcement


Why Does Change Fail?

• Poor starts

• Making change an option

• A focus only on process

• A focus only on results

• Not involving those expected to implement change

• Delegated to “outsiders”

Leadership does not “walk the talk”

• Wrong size

• No follow-through


Change Management Mistakes

• Not understanding importance of people

• Not appreciating that people react differently to change (confidence, challenge, coping, counterbalance, creativity)

• Treating change as an event versus a mental, physical and emotional process

• Being less then candid

• Not setting the stage for change


Change Management Keys

• Strong buy-in at the top

• Creating vision

• People centered around common values

• Change is team driven

• Skills-based training is provided

• Managing transition

• Initiatives are measured

• Management sticks to the plan (sustaining momentum)


Creating Successful Change

• Plan your communications

Communicate the vision

• Develop change agents

• Leadership – change sponsors, change leaders

• Attain workplace commitment

• Aligning the organization

• Tracking progress

• Leveraging knowledge and learning


Individual Tips

• Build “safety zones” (what is the same; sources of support)

• Ask advice from “veterans”

• Grieve

• Expect some chaos/allow for mistakes

Work-life “harmony”

• Be an active change agent

• Look for opportunities


Keep in Mind

“We must become the change we want to see.” (Gandhi) “The future is not a result of choices among alternative paths offered by the present, but a place that is created – created first in the mind and will, created next in activity. The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them, changes both the maker and the destination.”

(John Schaar)

Two caterpillars are conversing and a beautiful butterfly floats by. One caterpillar turns and says to the other, “You’ll never get me up on one of those butterfly things.”


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