Leading through change, what impact are you having?

office

 

“Whosoever desire constant success must change his conduct with the times”

Niccolo Machiavelli

Change Change Change – how are we leading it, managing it or not?

Let’s look at a story about change and the impact of a leader who is further along the change curve than anyone else and who has not consulted others in the process.

Sam, the new leader had been thinking about the reorganisation and the changes he was going to make for about three months. That was plenty of time for him to get used to the idea. He was under time pressure to turn around results within the next six months. He knew speed and efficiency were of the essence. Sam decided to communicate all about it so he sent an email to all his employees announcing a new organisation structure that would come into play in one month’s time.

Sam’s email was met with silence, so he took that as a message to say that everyone was happy with the change. He was even pleased with himself for getting it right. This was of course not the case, Sam had incorrectly interpreted silence as acceptance. He didn’t realise this until his boss angrily approached him asking him about the commotion that had broken out in the office. Speculation and defensive behaviours had taken grip of the workforce as a result of his poor change communication; he had not considered the impact on others. One conversation he overheard went something like this:

‘I feel run over, unimportant – like I’m an outsider who’s not important enough for my manager to spend time on. It feels so impersonal, as if we are dispensable and should just obey orders. My trust is gone and I don’t know what’s going on.’

Are you familiar with this story, have you experienced it before or indeed have you created it before? When we have the common “busy bug”, dashing around, we are all so busy that we simply make quick assumptions about others and indeed think they are with us. And as we can see in the story above, this is not always the case.

People typically change their behaviours out of pleasure or pain. It’s either too painful to keep doing something or it will be so rewarding to change it that you do it for that reason. So if you are getting painful results as a leader or if others are unwilling to change, consider changing your approach.

”People typically change their behaviours out of pleasure or pain”

To manage change effectively in teams, you continuously have to think about your team members and where they are on the change curve. Think about how they feel and how to approach them in a way that matches their needs, so that necessary change can happen at a faster pace.

Change Curve

 

Think about how you can communicate to help people see the possibilities of change. Help people understand that they can cope with it. Give them coping strategies and ensure that you have a communication strategy and plan around the change – it is so obvious that people miss it!

Where are you on the change curve and where are others? Match where others are to bring them through the change curve to get the best results.

Follow the story further in Chapter 8 (How do you get a team to manage change effectively?) in our book “Leading team: 10 Challenges 10 Solutions”

About the authors

Mandy Flint & Elisabet Vinberg Hearn, award-winning authors of ”The Team Formula”.

Their latest book, multi-award-winning ”Leading Teams – 10 Challenges: 10 Solutions”, published by Financial Times International is a practical tool for building winning teams. You can download a free chapter of the book at www.leadingteamsbook.com

Praise for ”Leading Teams: ”Enjoyable to read. Simple to understand. Practical to implement. A must read for team members or leadersDebbie Fogel-Monnissen, Executive Vice President, International Markets Finance Officer, Mastercard, NY, USA

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