I’ve been thinking a lot lately about why so many projects have problems when it comes to dealing with the people issues and in particularly, the changes that will occur because of the projects or initiatives. In trying to tackle what’s at the heart of the problem I thought about the phrase and I used for many years and thought perhaps it’s time to share:
CHANGE = Pain + 1st Step
It seems simple enough: change equals pain plus the first step. Fortunately for me the ability to this has come somewhat intuitively. But intuition isn’t all that scalable, so let me try to break this down.
Many organizations approach transformation with lofty goals. Some look to “change the culture” (see my blog post). In most cases the goal doesn’t mean a lot to those who are working day to day to keep the business running, but the result will be a change to the way they work. This is where the problem starts. You can’t change what you don’t understand.
Change = Pain + 1st Step means starting small. In coming up with the grand vision what were some of the “pain points” that were gathered along the way? Bingo – a great place to start! The grand vision is just too much for any one person to make an impact.
Change = Pain + 1st Step means having the ability to take action. The “grand vision” must be made compelling so each and every person can relate to it. Understanding what is meant enables others to see how their actions can help. Action can be taken when the direction is specific.
Change = Pain + 1st Step means including others. People don’t like change imposed on them. Get others involved to solve the pain point. What needs to be different? What does that look like? How will that make the work better? What actions can we take today?
Change = Pain + 1st Step means sharing successes. The grand vision has been broken down, a specific problem has been identified, a collaborative solution implemented and the results have been achieved. Use the group and the results to advocate the next set of changes. Identify what worked well and replicate this.
Change = Pain + 1st Step is simple but somehow it seems we like to complicate things. Too much data, too much analysis, too little action is the enemy of change.
Have you had success with this approach? Please share your examples.
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