Change is in the air everywhere you look, particularly in this race to be a great digital business. While there are hurdles in this race like learning to exploit new trends and technologies, but the big wall is how people deal with change. I'm not sure we are considering how to get people to accept or embrace change. We really can't replace people with robots anytime soon or even replace all of our people with different ones, so we better get good at helping people with change. People have free will and we need to carefully move them along by understanding what they have to do to shift their habits and behaviors. Here is a change cycle that has helped me over the years that worked without threats or intimidation.
Identify the Change:
It's important to describe the goals of the change and why they are important to the organization. This is important even if each of the steps of the change journey or the complete end state is not described perfectly. Frequent updates and adjustments are part of the change process, but honesty goes a long way.
People are going to react to the described and anticipated changes. It is important to discuss the impacts, both positive and negative with all involved, repeatedly. It would be important to have early adopters or people who inspire others as key communicators.
Motivate the Change:
Change can be positively motivated, but many managers slip into negative motivation too early in the cycle. There should be rewards on the line for those that are involved. For learners, it's the change itself. For the average person, it's a chance to get an appropriate reward. For the resistors, the gradual success will convince them eventually. Making the results visible is crucial for the change to gather momentum.
Align the Priorities:
Priorities have to be aimed at the change at the highest possible level. Those that are ambitious will show the way. Early rewards can help the momentum and shape rewards for further steps. Examples of success, well communicated, go a long way.
Make and Measure the Change:
Planning good measures and making them visible will create momentum. but a true post audit that prioritizes on truth will help folks understand how serious organizations are to learn to be better. Some changes are long lasting so intermediate measures and goals are helpful.
Reward and Repeat:
Pay out the rewards handsomely and you can expect better results over time. Some folks will have to shift to new areas because they can't make the change. If they are treated fairly, future steps will be safer.
Handling people with care has a direct relationship on the success of change and gets organizations ready for the next hurdle. It's all about avoiding a faltering in the race to digital.
Additional Reading on Change: