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The Best Way to Help Your People Change, is to Know Your People

According to Forbes, most organisational change efforts take longer and cost more money than leaders and managers anticipate. And according to McKinsey, 70% of change transformations fail. And for the change transformations that do succeed, many don't achieve the goals of the original change vision.

These are pretty bleak statistics.

Why is change so hard?

Generally speaking, human beings just don't like change. Change takes us out of our comfort zone and often triggers fear. We don't like feeling uncomfortable or being afraid. That's the long and the short of it.

Change is a very personal and challenging process in a business context. The depth and length of an individual’s path on this change curve (see below) is determined by a combination of personal and organisational factors.

As a leader, one of the most important aspects of your job in a changing world, is to help your people to overcome their innate human bias to resist change and maintain the status quo.

This can be really hard to do. Especially so, as a leader, if you don’t have a plan to proactively and compassionately support your people through this process. However, if you are empowered with a simple step by step change plan, you and your people and your business can be wildly successful!

The key is to help your people through this process using carefully structured conversations, designed with the outcome in mind, while also taking into account the personal drivers of the person that you are helping through the change process. What does this mean and how do you do this?

Well, organisational change first starts with individuals, ie: change is achieved by successfully coaching a person through the change process - one person at a time. This is one of the reasons why successful transformational change rates are so low - because people try to short-cut the process. This will not work. It must be done one person at a time. One conversation at a time. This is why leadership is so important during change. Organisational and transformational change relies on each leader having coaching conversations with their people on a regular basis.

Your first step on your change journey, is to ensure that you have a solid understanding and knowledge of the person (or people) that you are wanting to help through the change process.

For example, as a leader, before you start your conversations, you should know the answers to the following questions regarding the person you are seeking to help through the change process:

  • What are their drivers?

  • How do they like to receive information?

  • How do they prefer to communicate?

  • Who do they influence?

  • Who are they influenced by?

  • What are their values?

  • What is important to them?

  • What will inspire them to become part of the change?

  • What is their WIIFM ("what's in it for me?") factor?

Once you have an understanding of the person to be able to answer the above questions, you then need to refer to the ADKAR change management process, and ascertain the following:

  • What level of awareness does this person already have regarding the change?

  • What level of desire to they have to support the change?

  • What level of knowledge do they have regarding how to change?

  • Do they have the ability to demonstrate the required skills and behaviours to support the change?

  • What can I do to support and reinforce this change with this person, even at this early stage?

As you can see, effective change management is complex and challenging - but the reality is that organisational change only occurs when people are supported to change on an individual level.

If done well, effective change management can drive incredibly powerful results by taking a personalised approach to support people to do what is needed to prepare, accept, and adopt change. By effectively managing change, both individuals and companies can thrive and achieve success in a new way of doing business.

Would you like to learn more about how you can help your people through a change management process? We can provide tailored advice and support to you and your business to help your people successfully transform and work through change. Please contact John or Deb at Business Agility Pty Ltd. We are your partners in effective change management and your business success.

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