Learning About Change Takes a Change

 In Change Management, Change Management Competency, Communication, The Change Management 101 Model

If you’ve never done it before, applying organizational change strategies and tactics is a change. It takes new thinking and new behaviors compared to what you’ve done in the past. Our company’s philosophy is that successful organizations lead and manage change in a strategic, thoughtful, planned and proactive way. If you’ve never approached organizational change that way before and now are trying to – it’s a change for you and those you work with.

Clients come to us because they are trying to learn a new or better way to lead and manage change. They are trying to learn the strategic, process, and tool based approach that we teach and apply. Some have used successful strategies in the past but they are often one off attempts at communicating or involving stakeholders. When they reach out to us, they’ve realized that people issues too easily fall through the cracks resulting in slipped timelines and underachievement.

As we work with new clients or immerse trainees in our approach during certification training, we often witness an example of individual change and transition. It’s a transition of knowing how to do something today then learning how to do things differently and applying that learning, changing behaviors as a result. This is a journey they hope to help others make. Here’s how we see their journey from our side of the table:

The awareness stage – they have identified that the current state doesn’t work (the current state defined as being reactive or negligent regarding people issues during change as witnessed by things like lack of communication, lack of sponsorship, lack of involvement and strong resistance). They have identified that there is a better way, a future state, as defined as using a strategic, planned and proactive approach to organization change.

The understanding stage – they are seeking to understand what a strategic, planned and proactive approach to organization change looks like. They increase their understanding by reading books, combing our website, and asking questions.

The desire stage – they have the motivation and put plans in place to do things differently. They make personal and financial commitments and see the “what’s in it for me”. They commit to training and/or hire us for consulting services.

The adoption stage, they start using Change Guides strategies and tools either by working with our consultants, applying what they have learned from Change Guides training or by reading our Change Management Pocket Guide and The Eight Constants of Change. They have changed their behaviors and are adopting a new way of working.

As they use and adapt the tools and processes over time, they will enter the internalization stage. In this stage, workers have made the new work part of their regular routine and have even improved upon it.

Like with any individual transition, it can be challenging to learn new ways to approach your work. I tell clients that the first time they use a Change Readiness Audit, it will probably feel a little uncertain and uncomfortable which is what happens to individuals when they are transitioning. I tell them, “That’s OK”. They will get more comfortable the second, third and fourth time they use the tool, just like workers who get training and practice are more comfortable when they are asked to work differently.

Organizational change comes down to individual transition. It’s important to remember how that feels, how it takes time, and that it applies to all of us no matter what we are trying to change.