Have you ever heard this - or said this: Help – I don’t know where to start!
This is often the reaction from many people as they begin to discuss a method for implementing a change. So after hundreds of hours of benchmarking, thinking, planning, testing, simulating, and ideating around the topic of culture, innovation, and where this work needs to happen, I have come up with something that “just makes sense”. With the dedicated help of a small team that I work with – we have established a top 10 list of some of the important elements to making change happen, but making it happen successfully in an innovation space full of unpredictability. Oh, and there will be a bonus at the end!
Ugh! You want to change WHAT?!?!? Again???
Change in general is a challenge. Most people are afraid of anything related to change and unwilling to lead or be a part of it, unless there is some sort of perceived or implied benefit. What happens when you mix in the personal element, it becomes even more difficult, because we are all inherently afraid of what we don’t know, don’t understand, or don’t like.
I feel that this is the same in both our personal and professional lives. Based on this, I found issues with multiple segments:
- Support from management
- Lack of resources
- Constantly changing priorities and plans
- Inconsistencies across teams
- Hidden agendas or personal vendettas
And many more...
After careful consideration of the problem, in order to manage through the process of changing peoples mindset - I learned many ways that worked and even more ways that did NOT work.
The top ten list that I am articulating touches different areas that evolved from both successes and failures.
1. Invite Your People On a Journey
- How can you? Lay the groundwork..
- You will be uncomfortable!
- Its ok, just come along for the ride
2. Give People "the Why"
- Why should they care? Employees are often focused on what affects them personally
- Focus or turn their attention on the bigger picture - why are we doing this?
3. Put Your Focus on the Right People
- Bottom 20% disengage no matter what you do
- Top 20% are with you no matter what
- Middle 60% are where you need to focus
4. You Can't Communicate Enough!
- When yo uare worn out because you've told people the same thing 14 different ways, tell them another 10 times - in a different way
5. Give People Permission!
- Let people know its okay to be behave differently
- Some of your people (possibly your best), need to hear you say this
- Some need to see YOU do it....set an example
6. Push People Further Than You Think You Can
- If you only take your people 90% of the way there - you will NEVER get to 100%
- Take them further than they think they can go...you can always dial it back
- Push people out of their comfort zone (their safe place), if you do - amazing things will happen
7. Know Where You Are
- Understand where you are in the change process...regardless of which model you follow - here is an example:
Phase 1 - Establish, Phase 2 - Develop, Phase 3 - Embed, Phase 4 - Optimize
8. Instincts Are More Important Than the Plan
- Listen to your instincts - they are telling you something that is valid
- Pay Attention!
- If people aren't responding, pivot and change your method
9. Stay the Course
- Don't stray from the main purpose of what you are trying to accomplish
- Identify your non-negotiables
- This doesn't mean zero flex or adjusting your approach (see #8), it means - "Don't Compromise the Important Stuff"
10. Burn the Bridges
- Throw the old away - think about how to take away peoples ability to function in the old way
- Enable success by limiting the roads to the past
But Wait - There's More!
11. Trust the Madness
- Chaos is OK - turn it up to...11!
- Innovation comes from
- Chance encounters and sparks
- Being awkward is normal - function at a higher level than what is perceived as normal
In the example I am writing about - the change being pursued was relative to the changing of an environment that people work in...which meant that the culture would be hit head-on in order for success to be possible.
Thinking about what is perceived as normal - you need to immediately, slow down. Change isn't something that can happen over night and isn't something that will be sustained if rushed and pushed into a place that isn't prepared.
People....are People. Because of this fact - every one of us has quirks, tendancies, methods that we like and methods that we don't like. Understanding this is critical - and quite possibly the biggest challenge.
Another critical element and challenge is something I call "Control". What - that isn't a new term? So I don't even control words? Bingo. We may have to use influence tools and techniques in situations where we have absolutely, zero control.
As the late great Covey once said - "begin with the end in mind." Understand the journey - and then begin doing what feels right. It starts - and ends, with a mindset.
Insight from the Bobcat Company Change Management Team