It's not what is changing, but
how you're leading the process...

Organizations struggle mightily with change and often abandon or fail to adopt beneficial plans because their leaders fear or encounter strong resistance, or they try to change so slowly that a window of opportunity is missed. 

With a well-crafted change management approach it doesn’t have to be that difficult.  The approach should include the following ten essential elements.

  • Acknowledgement of peoples’ fears as legitimate

  • Expressing empathy, not sympathy

  • Communicating benefits, followed by the enabling features

  • Focusing on the emotional aspects before the logical aspects

  • Engaging the employees by facilitating a two-way dialogue

  • Providing a form of tangible security

  • Exhibiting support and commitment to the change at the top of the organization

  • Displaying a well aligned and supportive executive team that addresses issues using the chain-of-command, and demonstrates their own new behaviors

  • Tapping the organization’s hidden leaders within

  • Obtaining third party assistance, which lends credibility to the change

The role of culture...

Many firms take great pride in their culture and try to hold it constant.  However, culture should and does change with every person who joins or leaves the organization.  That’s because the true culture is the sum of the behavioral norms of the collective employee population. 

In the quest to hold culture constant, executives and managers tend to hire people like themselves.  Such homogeneity reduces the firm’s capacity for creativity and innovation…and change.  Organizations would benefit from instead holding values constant, and using analytical techniques such as attribute analysis to identify and mitigate cultural weaknesses by creating an environment that embraces change and harnesses the power of diversity. 

Within a flexible and diverse culture it’s still possible to foster desirable behaviors such as a strong work ethic and a collaborative work environment.  Such behaviors are encouraged and supported through the clear communication of expectations, leadership by example, and the implementation of an advancement and reward system that is based upon and reinforces these behaviors.  
            ...makes the impossible possible
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Why people appear to overreact...

When confronted with change (or any new information for that matter) people respond in two ways: cognitively and emotionally.  Organizations typically make the mistake of focusing on the logical reasons for the change when communicating with employees.  This addresses the cognitive aspect of employee behavior, but neglects the employees’ emotional response.   

Emotional reactions occur about ten times faster than the cognitive process, and once people are polarized in a particular direction, they are difficult to sway.  This means that you need to use communication methods that address the emotional aspects of change, as well as the logical reasons, from the very beginning, not after people have reacted adversely. 

We can help you develop and implement a communication approach that accomplishes this critical component of change management, as well as assist with other aspects of planning and managing change. 

Performance Management Group, Inc.
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