Inspiring And Enabling People
To Make A Difference
I was listening to a webinar by Bernadette Doyle last night when I was reminded of something that underpins every successful project. In business, it is well known that people don’t like change, but not because they wish to resist it.
Everyone deals with change every day of their lives. But, in business, the first priority is performance. Consistent, dependable and, if possible, profitable performance.
So, when someone comes along and starts talking about change, the first response people have is not, this must be resisted at all costs, but THIS MUST BE MANAGED.
What is Old School Change Management?
Old School Change Management is any project overview that starts with the concept of “Overcoming Resistance to Change”. The assumption is that it is human nature to resist change and this is why we need to educate, communicate and even infiltrate the masses to help them see the light.
What a load of nonsense!
Yes there will be people who will see themselves as “losers” in the change being promoted that will not be happy. This group may put up some degree of resistance, but the majority will be more focused on how they can either minimise the impact of the change or maximise the upside.
Culturally, the likelihood of multiple jobs over a career, the degradation of unionised practices and the pace of change in our overall environment has eroded the fear that many had of change in the past. Just look at the volume of iPhone users amongst the over 50’s.
Consequently, the prospect of change in the workplace, is seen in a very different light by the employees as well as the leadership. Resistance is futile but careful change management is critical.
The Birth of Agile Performance Improvement
Executives don’t want to hear about “change”, they want to hear about performance improvement. They don’t want to spend time fighting resistance, they need to worry about achieving targets.
Agile Performance Improvement is change in small bursts. As an approach, it recognises that we haven’t got time to plan “a change programme” – instead we need to specify the requirements, achieve rapid buy-in, control the mission critical aspects of delivery and make the changes as quickly and painlessly as possible.
Before the next change comes along…
The Power of Business As Usual
The financial markets know how disruptive “change” can be. Their response to the announcement of a change is always negative. This is why company directors and Annual Reports always minimise the potential impact of change and prefer instead to talk about the outcomes of change and the power of their consistent, sustained delivery of Business As Usual (despite the changes). BAU is the reason why managing change is so critical. Change cannot become the focus of business, it is too distracting and the costs are always difficult to measure. Instead it needs to be integrated, at close to zero cost and with minimal impact on the existing business.
We recently worked with an organisation that didn’t feel they could afford to change. As a manufacturing business, daily production was all that mattered. However, the staff survey indicated that morale was at an all-time low and sickness stats indicated that performance was already eroding. The CEO feared the cost (in terms of time and effort) associated with an Old School Change Programme and was therefore putting off the necessary changes. One conversation over a Latte, five one-day agile events (led by in-house trained DELT? Agents) and a successful launch later and it’s all done! Until the next change…