You are expected to run to the finish line in the quickest amount of time , a whistle blows, and your coach expects you to stop and run back to the start line. You were thinking that this is part of the training, however, the coach tells you to run to the finish line now. Imagine how you would feel if you were part of this change plan,
In a Gallup study, 70% of change initiatives are expected to fail - this is the reality and it does not surprise me at all. It seems that our brains have a safety mechanism to avoid change, our amgydala responds in any of the 3Fs (fight, flight or freeze). Interestingly, MBTI founder Isabel Briggs Meyers concluded that only 5.5% of people can innately embrace change. This means that the rest of us, need to learn how to deal and embrace change.
What about the rest of 94.5%? ;
This means that more needs to be anticipated before rolling out any change initiatives, leaders and managers need to remember that change is an emotional transformation ; decisions are made emotionally first through the Daniel Kahneman's work.
Here are the most important 5 factors to consider before embarking on a change initiative Factor 1 : People Are Emotional And Social Beings People need to be heard, listened to , understood, engage in what people feel towards the eminent change rather than force the change down their throats. Consider running a pulse survey or focus group discussion on how would your people respond to different types of changes within the organization. Example : level of discomfort (scale of 1 to 5) for the following changes ( mergers, restructuring, retrenchments etc) . This gives the organization an understanding of the change profile of the organization ( p.s. making it anonymous is most preferred) Factor 2 : Change Momentum Needs To Be Maintained Unfortunately, a lot of change initiatives fail not only because it did not start well but it loses the spark and momentum when the change is on a roll. This gets bogged down because of day-to-day work and people rather focus on their work output. This is a tell-tale sign that people do not see the significant of the change tied to their day-to-day work. Momentum can be defined as the quantity of motion that an object(on the move) has in the physics context. In the organizational context, lots of buzz happens at the beginning and fizzes out in the middle. so what can you do about it? Create milestone that are clear and visible for all the stakeholders in the organization. Direct the stakeholders to reach their milestones and create an organizational wide status reporting dashboard on how are each of the departments doing their part to help with the change process.
Factor 3 : There is no design in the thinking ; No design thinking in mind when determining the change plans To fully incorporate change in an organization especially in a large scale operation, it is imperative to have co-creation where there are representatives of each department are involved in the change planning (be it upstream or downstream). This allows for the understanding of challenges or factors that may cause the change initiative to fail. It is better to work solutions to eminent problems than to heavily modify change plans half-way. The other portion is the testing phase, where the testing of change initiatives need to be tested with unbiased groups and are ready to receive criticisms to make the plans more robust and well-designed. Adopting a top down change approach may seem efficient but it may not necessarily be the most effective.
In Conclusion, these are 3 factors to consider before the execution of any change plans. As such, for change leaders/ambassadors, we need to remind ourselves that change is an emotional and social transformation not simply a systems focus. Click here to lead the change