Managing CHANGE? – Just don’t mention the word
by ROSS SWAN
It is often said that change is the only constant. As oxymoronic as that may sound, it is most certainly true. The sooner we embrace or learn to embrace change, we would find ourselves less trapped in a time warp and going against the inevitable. The importance of change is accentuated especially when it comes to businesses.
The concept of Digital Darwinism states that you’re only as good as your latest product. The etymology of Digital Darwinism draws its origins from Darwinism which means ‘to evolve’.
Hence for most companies, today’s newest launch is tomorrow’s older version.
We’re most likely to hear the word change being mentioned in a business context many times in the course of a week. It is something that we all know is inevitable.
There are many quotes on the subject of change. A cursory search on Google will inundate with you quotes such as these.
“The rate of change is not going to showdown anytime soon. If anything, competition in most industries will probably speed up even more in the next few decades” – John P Kotter
or how about this:
“Change is the law of life, and those who only look to the past on present are certain to move the future.” – the 35th President of the United States, John. Kennedy
Scientist Peter Senge spoke succinctly of change when he said that:
“People don’t resist change, they resist being changed.”
Google “Managing Change Quotes” and you will see what I mean. All are most likely accurate in the context in which they were written.
As an executive coach, I resonate with the above quotes in more ways than one, but according to me what Peter Senge accurately stated, is the most compelling.
If you think about it closely, people aren’t averse to change because they want their lives to be better, but their aversion starts when they think about having to change themselves for their lives to change.
The key here is not to have people think that they have to change. It would be more helpful to have them focus on the destination or the end goal.
The journey will most probably involve change, but if their focus is on the final destination and they are motivated to get there, then they will come up with the most efficient route without thinking they are changing. That is, they are looking at it from a perspective of what’s the most efficient way of reaching our destination” and not why do I have to have to change?
My unsolicited advice to all managers is –
‘Do not mention the WORD.’
In essence, the four main questions that all leaders must ask themselves and have answers ready for employees when it comes to change are: Where are we now? Where do we need to be? What part do I NEED to play? And, last but not least, is what’s in it for me? Once you armed with the an
I have seen these questions, or similar versions used many times and unfortunately, that word ‘Change’ usually gets into the dialogue somewhere. That can dilute the process itself.
Why use the word, it’s just not necessary! The more you mention it, the more heads will drop. Why use it and introduce negative thoughts to the brain?
When looking at the four questions, it is essential to simplify the process and consider it as a journey that commences at Point A and culminates at Point B. So, point A starts at analyzing where we are at present? The end goal is where we need to be, let’s call that point – B. So, we know that we need to saunter from Point A to Point B. Along the path will come C and D.
What part do I play? This is the route employee takes.
The more they are involved in the process the more collaborative the journey. And most crucially, the most reflective thought process is WHAT’s IN IT FOR ME (WIIFM)? Once people see a personal gain, then their motivation increases. The more they are motivated to achieve, the more they push past roadblocks to get there.
Therefore, in their mind it’s not about change it’s about going from Point A to Point B effectively, and the WIIFM part will help them get there.
Ross is a behavioral leadership coach dedicated to helping leaders become more authentic in the way they lead. Given this dedication, he co-foundered Soul-Inspired-Leadership to place more emphasis on leaders become truer to their inner-selves in the way they manage and to further a commitment to bringing more soul into the business.
He works internationally, spanning a variety of industries around the globe with his projects encompassing many diverse cultural backgrounds.
Contact Ross at firstname.lastname@example.org
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