Straight Talk on Empowering
What you mother never taught you about change in organizations.
If I have learned nothing else as a certified problem-solving Six Sigma Black Belt, I have learned how to empower others to accept change in their professional world (and hopefully their personal world as well.) The most important things I have learned about change have nothing to do with change models, but are based on a simple understanding of how people react to change. That understanding has led me to live by the "Three Truths of Change" that I would like to share with you here.
But first, the simple understanding of how people react to change. Simply put, very differently, depending on three factors:
Additionally, most people either have a positive or negative predisposition to change, which means that they experience vastly different emotional states while going through change (you did know change is a process, complete with different stages, right?)
Regardless of people's predisposition, or the above factors however, you can minimize the negative impact of change by increasing the individual control and level of involvement of those who will experience the change. That's where the "Three Truths of Change" come in handy. In no certain order, they are:
Finally, the first step to effective change management is to identify your stakeholders. List them all - everyone who will be touched by your proposed change. This includes internal functions and external customers as well. Then determine where each group stands on your change. Who will benefit from the change? Who will not? Look at the benefits and losses for each stakeholder group. And then ask yourself some questions about managing your stakeholders:
Doing the work up front to understand likely reactions and manage stakeholder expectations goes along way towards smooth sailing down the road when it really counts. Just think what your mother could have done if she had known that!