Raise your hand (or drop me an email) if you love being told what to do! I’m guessing there aren’t a lot of hands raised out there nor will I get a lot of emails from most of you.
Whether you’re a teenager being told to pick up your socks or professional going through a process or system change, most of us don’t like being told what to do. It’s common for people to want control over your own destiny or, at a minimum, to feel like you are being brought along on the journey.
When it comes to workplace change, most of us can appreciate that sometimes change is necessary. Perhaps your company has outdated technology, just bought another company, or is investing in tools so they can spend less time on manual processes and more time on higher value activities.
Just because change is necessary, doesn’t mean we will like it. If you avoid change and tend to resist it, rest assured you are not alone! Our “reptile brain” is hardwired to view change in our environment with at least some level of concern or suspicion. And yet, when we support people through change, they can be wonderfully adaptive and resilient.
Most people need to hear about a change at least 7-8 times before they can embrace it. Ideally, we would learn about the change through a variety of mediums (like a staff meeting, email communication, a newsletter, FAQs, a 1:1 with your manager, and the like). In addition, most of us need the opportunity to understand “why” the change is happening, to engage in dialogue about the change, ask some questions, and internalize what the change means for them.
The pace of change and a changing workforce is one of the reasons we use Organizational Change Management (OCM) to help people make changes at work. OCM helps us prepare, equip, and support people through change whether it’s a work or anywhere in your life.
So, let’s jump into a quick True/False on OCM.
True or False? Organizational Change Management:
- Includes tools, methods, and techniques to help people create awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement for a new way of working.
True. We even use the “not too exciting” acronym ADKAR to describe the continuum of change from Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability (to work in the new way), and Reinforcement to support change in the long run.
- Is mostly about training.
False. While training may be a component of some organizational change, if we simply send people to training without creating awareness and desire the likelihood of creating lasting change is low.
- Provides a structured approach to supporting individuals in an organization so they can shift from their current state to the desired future state of working.
True. Not much more to say about that except – OCM works!
- Is “touchy-feely kumbaya” when in reality, managers should just tell people to GET IT DONE!
False. If only it were that easy! Just helping people feel good OR telling them just get it done won’t lead to lasting change. We have to equip managers to communicate and work with employees to build buy-in, reduce the stress and fear of change, and support them in creating momentum so they can SOAR to new heights.
- Focuses time and attention on resistors seeking to win them over.
False. Surprising, right? In any organization about 16% of employees will be eager for change. Another 16% will be change averse or maybe even resistant. The other 68% are waiting to see where most of the attention is going. When we focus time and attention on our early adopters, we gain momentum with the “wait-and-see” folks and they begin to view the change as “our standard way of doing things.”
- Assumes that when we treat people respectfully and engage them in the change, they become empowered, energized, and will produce better results than if we just told them what to do.
True. This actually IS the secret sauce. When we engage employees at many levels of an organization, they become a part of the change rather than simply having change done to them.
Ready to take on some change? Consider this: What are the messages that people need to hear? When do they need to hear them, and from whom? What is the optimal time to teach someone a new skill? How do we leverage the culture we have vs. trying to change the culture we have? How do we coach people to demonstrate new behaviors, and what makes changes “stick?”