Daily Archives: October 30, 2011

Change, Unchained

Change, nothin’ stays the same
Unchained, and ya hit the ground runnin’
Change, ain’t nothin’ stays the same
Unchained, yeah ya hit the ground runnin’

    Unchained, Van Halen, 1981

Change. The age old * on organizations everywhere. Conjuring up images of the bottomless black pit, nothing causes more job stress for the average employee. And as noted in this recent SIG article in The Art of the Change, “Change” is now ever present. So how should you go about implementing change to minimize the stress and fear and maximize success?

The author starts by quoting Stanislao and Stanislao who defined four criteria to consider before implementing a change:

  1. What Should Be Changed?
  2. What Type of Change Needs to Be Made?
  3. Who Will Be Affected By The Change?
  4. Who Will Be The Change Agents?

These are good criteria, but what about
0. Why Do We Need A Change?
5. What Is The Goal Of The Change?
6. What Are The Expected Results?

Let’s face it, if something ain’t broke, you shouldn’t fix it. If there is no why, there is no what. If there is no end goal, then how do you know if the change is appropriate? And if you can’t define the expected results, it’s probably not the right change.

The author then notes that workers who have no real input into a change repel it for several reasons, including surprise, unknown workload, unknown job security (if a task is being automated), etc. As a result, the author recommends that you should:

  • Give Employees Advance Notice.
  • Give Employees Information About the Change.
  • Give Employees Training to Cope With the Change.

And these are musts. But the author misses the most important thing you should do if you want a change to be successful. That is:

  • Explain The Rewards (To The Employee) Associated With the Change.

Let’s face it, the first thing an employee wants to know is what’s in it for them if you expect them to work hard to prepare for and implement a change — especially when they believe the same ol’, same ol’ is good enough. Will it make their jobs easier? Will it improve profitability and their potential bonus? Will it, in hard times, simply ensure that the corporation will be operating lean enough to allow them to keep their jobs? Enquiring minds want to know!

In addition, as the author notes, you should be aware of the very fundamental reasons that humans resist change, which, according to Gilley, Godek, and Gilley include:

  1. Fear of losing one’s position in the hierarchy.
  2. Not being aware of the company’s vision and/or purpose.
  3. Fear of losing one’s job entirely.
  4. Growing apprehensions about taking on additional roles and responsibilities.
  5. Working longer hours so that personal life becomes severely affected.

And make sure that the information and training communicated to the employees addresses each of these concerns. If you do that, engage your employees, and make them part of, and, when possible, leaders of, the process, you are much more likely to be on your way to a successful change initiative.