The majority of my interactions with clients lately have been about organizational change. It is becoming more of an executive level conversation as leaders are realizing the importance of paying attention to the people dynamics and understanding the consequences when they don’t. “Where to start?” is a question I’m commonly asked. Here’s the 100,000 foot view that I recently shared:
- First – stop using “change management.” It’s a myth, change can’t be “managed.” All of us certainly know we can’t change someone else and likely have learned this well in our personal lives. It holds equally true at work but somehow we don’t take this into consideration and continue to pursue managing change at work. What you can do is influence, entice, engage, suggest, mentor… “Change management” sounds like something that gets delegated to lower levels to “manage” in the organization. While there is certainly a project component, the overall concept of an adaptable and flexible workforce is a strategic concern in an organization and one executives should be involved with. Consider using “organizational change” or “leading change.”
- Second, stop using the word “new” to descibe your subsequent state. New implies a change from here to there and then it is done. It sends the message to employees that once you master the new way of working, they can relax as they have arrived at “new”. The truth is there’s another “new” waiting in the wings. So, call it what it is. It’s “next.” This alerts employees to expect more and that “next” will be a way of life. Offer career development and training in how to live in a “next” environment. As employees gain the skills to embrace change they can move towards creating an adaptable and flexible workforce.
This is the 100,000 foot view, but it’s a place to start. Oh, and don’t forget change fatigue, but more on that later…