Life, Leadership and Business

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Challenges of Change – 5 Key areas that will kill your efforts to bring change

“If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing badly at first.” Many teams use this quote as a mantra, launching their efforts in a bid to get momentum for their cause. It is true that it is easier to steer a car while it is moving. A stationary vehicle is both impossible to turn and difficult to get rolling. There are a lot of advantages for the team or organisation to get the ball rolling as soon as possible, as changing direction later is common, possible and if managed correctly – powerful.

With the advance of technology and the availability of information and better strategies, many companies, organisations and teams are set to affect change to culture, brand, direction and strategy. With all this new information and available technology, team vision will grow to meet the challenges of the modern age – change is inevitable. 

During the “winds of change”, knowledge and behaviour management are crucial to success and form the core of what is commonly known as Change Management. Rushing or forcing change to comply with some deadline could be fatal, but it is a common mistake made by management eager to gain the benefits from their new vision. This is not the only error made by change-hungry drivers. Here is a list of other common errors, all of which will derail effort to implement successful change:

1.     Change for the sake of Change: Not all change is progress. Changed not investigated, studied or surveyed could result in the team taking steps backwards in their progress rather than forwards. Don’t implement change because you think it is a good idea. Don’t implement change because your competitors are changing. Rather, change must be a natural result of a growing vision and expanding mission.

      2.     “Because I Said So”: Change born in the mind of the leader and forced down the team members throats - will not succeed. Change forced onto team members can cause a “Us vs. Them” mentality which will destroy sense of loyalty and trust at all levels within the team.  Giving birth to the vision in full view of the team will help their “buy-in” to the process like responsible parents. The more people involved in the process (within strategic limits of course) the better.  Just listening to Team Members views and concerns will already make them feel like they are part of the process, that they have had a say in the matter. Don’t be a dictator, be a leader. 

3.     “This is what we don’t want”: Many leaders implementing change focus on the outcomes not desired. Time and effort is spent explaining to team members what “is not vision”. And even though this is an important part of understanding, it is only half the story! We don’t drive a vehicle facing the direction from where we have come. Driving is successful when facing the direction we are moving towards. Start your summary of desired outcomes by explaining behaviour you want to avoid, but please, end your summary with exactly what is desired. People need a clear understanding of what they are moving towards. Give it to them.

4.     “I am not sure this is right. Is this right?”: Too many teams ignore training in the efforts to implement change at their own peril. “Oh but it is too costly, and it wastes time.” NONSENSE! The cost of training far outweighs the impact of failure! Time and effort taken to train team members may seem to slow the change process in the beginning, but will save you the time, effort and cost of trying to right the wrongs. People need certainty. A healthy, positive and clear training program will provide that certainty and grow confidence within your team members. Do training!

5.     When reaping the rewards, remember the workers: Success often results in
praise and benefits for the leaders, but the worker’s efforts are not acknowledged. Oh, you may get away with it once or twice, but the sense of betrayal and thanklessness will grow. At some stage you will need to lean on your team and they will not support you. Don’t fool yourself in thinking that you will just replace them. Nothing spreads like the rumour of a selfish and thankless leader or organisation.  Learn to be grateful and demonstrate your thankfulness to those that have laboured for your success. Share the spoils of your success, or watch your success spoil.

Change management is a fascinating field of study that is greater than the few key areas mentioned in this article. Attention to knowledge and behaviour management will ensure that any change implemented will bring the success desired and planned.  The most important element to focus on during change is – be Generous! Be generous with sharing the vision. Be generous in sharing expectations. Be generous in listening to the views and concerns of team members. Be generous with praise and appreciation.  It is in your giving that you will receive your success.

More Articles on change include:
1. 4 Common Traps that Prevent Change
2. The Architecture of Change – The 7 Key Phases of Change
3. Superpowers of the Superheroes for Change – 8 Traits for leaders of change

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