I’m often asked about my thoughts on the discipline of change management – where it is and where it’s going. There is new thinking required in our approach to change. Here it is:
1. Don’t manage change; Provoke it.
Best practice says that we should gradually expose stakeholders to the future state. Go for broke. Dazzle them with the end game. Demonstrate the ultimate goal. Use a bit of shock and awe.
2. Encourage drama.
We learn by observing others. Assign roles and act out the change. A bit of drama allows people to see how the change can benefit them. Ask participants to act out negative scenarios as well and devise responses to them.
3. Lead from the bottom.
Your most important people are at the front line. Focus your leadership there.
4. Don’t settle for silence.
Silent stakeholder groups are bombs waiting to go off. Double up your provocation in those areas.
5. Get physical.
Visibility is good. Getting up close and personal is better. There’s a reason politicians get out and shake hands.
6. Model extreme adoption.
Any leader can point the way. Go further; put yourself into the future state and show how it’s done. Be the first to make the transition.
7. Ditch deliverables.
I’ve never seen a client go back and review a stakeholder analysis or even a change strategy. They change drastically in the course of the work. Look at the audience, understand the needs and get on with the tactics.
8. Deconstruct resistance.
Speaking louder doesn’t help when people don’t understand our language. Stakeholders refuse to get on board for good reasons. Figure out their motivations first, then change your tactics accordingly. Work from there perspective.
9. Recognize movement over arrival.
Everyone moves at different speeds. Honour every step in the right direction.
10. Adopt your adopters.
And for those who are progressing towards the change, regardless of their speed of movement, bring them onto your team. Highlight their progress. Post their testimonials. Promote their success.