Gauge the Impact of Change With Two Simple Questions

Change is HARD!

Change is RELENTLESS!

The pace of change is ACCELERATING!

We hear these messages all of the time, while glossing over the following:

  • The rate of change has been high for a long time. Nothing new here.
  • We are built to adapt.
  • We incorporate change into our lives all the time with minimal disruption.

Change is not a doom and gloom topic. If we didn’t do it, we would still be using rotary phones, my couch would be orange floral with a plastic cover, and I wouldn’t be able to pay my food bill…

Finishing my cheeseburger egg rolls at a diner in Adelaide, Australia, I reached for my wallet to discover only my phone. Signalling the waiter, I asked if they accepted Apple Pay. Fortunately I had loaded my cards into my phone as a ‘just in case’ and with a bit of fumbling, made my first smartphone payment. Crisis averted. Adaptation to new form of payment complete!

If you reflect on the last 30 days, I guarantee you can come up with 100 ways you’ve adapted behavior, modified the way you do things in order to accommodate a change or integrate a useful learning.

Changing Your Mind

So, why is some change more difficult than others? Ask those who are experiencing the change:

1. How desirable is it for you?

2. How complex or difficult do you think it will be to adapt to it?

Desirability is the perception of how the change will benefit me personally or something I care about. Change that is good for community, that aligns with my values, that provides tangible benefit without a great cost is attractive.

Complexity assesses how much work a person will need to do, physically and emotionally, to adapt to the change. We can assess that by looking at

  • new skills required
  • financial impacts
  • current emotional state
  • technical, procedural changes involved
  • relationship shifts

Using Apple Pay was low complexity and high desirability. I didn’t require any training. Moving people from the back office to the front office where they are in contact with customers is much more complex, and potentially of negative desirability. The greater the complexity the more active support is required.

The good news is that these dimensions are malleable: We can influence how people view change using the levers described in the 4C-S Strategy Accelerator. Negative desirability can be flipped, and what seems complex and can be broken down into achievable components.

All changes are not created equal. Getting a fix on how they are perceived will give you greater insight into how to get everyone bought into the benefits and on board for the shift.

If you need help making the assessment and determining how to get everyone moving in the same direction successfully, let me know – this is where I shine brightest!

Thoughtfully yours,

Jeff Skipper

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