What fuels the momentum for transformational change? Transformation has more vitality and purpose when it is inspired by a vision statement (a desired future state) that compels unified action throughout your organization. A vision for change is more powerful when it is co-created by large numbers of your stakeholders rather than handed down by senior leaders. When people participate in the formation of a shared vision, they are far more likely to achieve it.
Major change triggers people into a range of challenging emotional reactions. There are many approaches and tools to support people in making the emotional shift out of resistance to committing to making an organizational change. One vital tool is the two-way, face-to-face conversation, either with an individual if the issue only pertains to them, or in a team or larger group setting if the upset is pervasive. How you facilitate such conversations and meetings can make or break your change efforts. The first step is up to you.
Every person has six primary core needs. We each have all six to some degree, but one or two are usually dominant and drive most of our behavior. You could say that these one or two are how we are wired and we behave in our lives to meet these priority needs. If they are not met, they become our hot buttons--our most sensitive issues. When our core needs are threatened, we react to protect ourselves. When we are emotionally hurt, upset, or resistant, it is usually because one or more of these core needs have been negatively triggered by events around us. This is especially true during change when things are more uncertain!
Achieving breakthrough in business or cultural results requires people operating at higher states of thinking and acting. The mindset and behavior of blaming curtails high performance. Blame culture is the single largest drain of human potential in organizations and will prevent you from achieving the breakthroughs you need to achieve your vision.
Co-creating is a way of thinking and relating with others who are working toward the same outcomes. It is a simple and powerful approach that completely alters the terrain of political mine fields and competition. It's defined as individuals or teams working together across boundaries to do whatever is necessary to achieve WIN-Win-Win outcomes.
In life and in organizational change, most people operate with a win-lose mindset. Others strive toward a win-win mindset. Very few, however, embrace the concept of WIN-Win-Win, and fewer still reap the rewards. Let's explore this powerful mindset.
Capacity is what enables people to get their work done, be it their normal day-to-day work or their change work. Having adequate workload capacity to do both when required is essential to their success and the success of change! If your organization does not have or generate the capacity for change, you are at risk of failing to achieve your expected results. Without people knowing there is adequate capacity to accomplish their change work, they will always do their operational work first, as that is what they are measured on. So how do you know if you have adequate capacity for change? You must assess it first for successful capacity planning.
Some of the most powerful forces occurring in change are both pre-existing political dynamics and those created when you implement change. People naturally want things to go their own way, to be viewed as “winners” in the change, and they behave in ways that benefit their own interests. Unfortunately, political maneuvering is rarely driven by what is good for the whole organization.
For your change initiative to succeed, your stakeholders need to be willing and ready for change. Ensuring their readiness to change is an important part of both your change strategy and your organization’s culture. But how do you know if your hard work is paying off? How do you know if your people are psychologically ready to proceed with the change you are asking of them?
Most organizations have a range of internal change consultants, typically found in different departments, such as project management, organization development, change management, quality, process improvement, LEAN and Six Sigma, and IT. These consultants all add value to the change process, but not at the same time and not in the same way. None of them oversees the entire change process from A to Z, so there is an absence of strategic oversight to what all changes need across the organization. Inevitably, value is left on the table.
The journey of organizational change – especially transformation – is anything but a straight line. If you are making changes that are transformational, it is likely things will be unruly, unpredictable, and messy in the process. Because of this uncertainty, the best course of action is to plan your change and future state as best you can, and then establish a mechanism and process to course correct your plans and outcomes as you discover the need to do so. Transformational leadership is not about sticking to the rigid intention of “make the Plan; follow the Plan!”
How do you define success in your organization’s change efforts? Without giving this question much conscious thought, the change leaders, project managers, or the change consutlants may say “solve the problem.” Or “get the solution implemented.” Or “meet the deadline and budget.” These are all legitimate answers, and common ones. However, when you ask this question of senior leaders at the very beginning of their change initiative, their answers will shed light on how they think about change as well as the process they will support to get their outcomes.