This week I came across several interesting and valuable articles dealing with change management. Two articles discuss the best ways to defuse change, via just a few initiators. You could also find in the articles a good idea that might improve your change process as well as obstacles that interrupt it, and understanding them could help you to overcome the difficulties.
Unfortunately, the big majority of change initiatives fail. After investing a decent amount of money, it is hard to admit the failure and look for a real change in the course. Martin Harshberger talks in this article about three factors that thwart change – People, Compliancy and Communication. People are indeed one of the top reasons that hinder change. Our nature is to avoid change as long as we can. If we want the change to happen, we need to change the behavior of us and of our leadership.
Change is a very demanding process that makes most of the people some hard time. Stress at work, which is very common nowadays prevents us from realizing all our potential capacity and being more efficient for the organization. Kirsten Walker discusses here mindfulness and its contribution for a better change. She argues that practicing mindfulness can be a good answer to resistance to change as well as for lead it. When we focus on one goal, instead of being occupied with many tasks, we can be much more productive, and consequently, deliver the change in a better fashion.
Since change is difficult, as discussed earlier, creative ways to deliver change are required. The traditional belief talks about communicating the change to as many employees as possible. In this article, Juliane Parsons suggests another theory. She believes that the critical number is 16% of the employees. Once you have reached this number, these innovators and early adopters will serve as opinion leaders and will defuse the change. In this article you can find some good tips on how exactly you can make this method work.
Mike Lehr agrees about the aforementioned concept, though he talks about different numbers. According to a study he relays on, it requires only 5% to influence everyone. The important thing, as claimed, is that these 5%, who are the initiators, would not be just scattered around the organization, rather will be consolidated so they can support each other and become much more powerful and possess greater effect on the organizational change.
When something goes wrong the only right thing to do is to investigate it. The problem is that the conclusions are frequently not implemented, and the mistakes recur. David Buchanan thinks that change is supposed to be routine and lessons should be learnt. If you don’t implement changes, the failures will happen again. He presents three main common difficulties of post-incident change: Approach, Causality and Process. Approach, which I find extremely important, talks about the tendency to blame individuals, instead of understanding that we need to look what conditions allowed this to happen, and to fix them.
Change management is complicated and sometime cumbersome process, if we want to facilitate it and make it more beneficial we must recognize its barriers. In this article you could find five examples for such barriers, that once they are understood, better strategies for implementing change may be created. One of those that I, personally, think is very significant, is the lack of effective communication strategy. Declaring a change will not deliver the change by itself. In order to achieve a successful change, we have to ensure that the employees are familiar with all the meanings and consequences of it.