Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I Love Change, What Do You Mean You Don't?!

As part of my new job as a people manager I took an assessment so my HR department would be able to assign me a ton of training courses.

Well, maybe it was to identify by strengths and weaknesses and help me improve in a targeted manner.

Whatever the intent was, I now have 15 training classes to take.

One item that was identified as a weakness was my ability to cope with change.

I was shocked! I thrive on change, I honestly really like it.

I like to think I am pretty self aware and when I identify a problem I try to fix it.

But that's my weakness. The fixing it part. I always try to fix it even if it is not really my problem.

I know that. And I am working on that.

However this class showed me another weakness. My inability to understand that not everyone thrives on change like I do and how to work with and implement change that effects this segment of folks.

I was shocked to learn that most people fall into this resistance to change group.

No, that's a joke. I was not shocked to learn that. I know that, I am reminded of that by my boss, my husband, my father on a regular basis.

What I needed to learn was how to lead the change with them tagging a long, not dragging along.

The course I took was provided by Harvard ManageMentor. I think this program is available to employees of a lot of major corporations as a lot of my friends knew about Harvard ManageMentor when I mentioned it.

And yes, on successful completion of my first class I did pat myself on the back for scoring 100% on a class from Harvard. And yes, I do plan to tell people I graduated from Harvard when I complete all these training courses.

Come on. You would too! Admit it!

Throughout the training there were a few quotes that really stuck with me.  These are motto's I try to live daily.

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared with what lies within us.

Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.

If you want to make enemies, try to change something.

Well, that one by WW isn't something I live as much as something I need to remember when I try to institute change.

I also have to remember that Rome was not built in a day.

I like this list, not just because I LOVE LISTS, but because it really is a great reminder of how to implement change in either the work place or your life.

Characteristics of an effective unit implementation plan:

  • Be simple
  • Be created by people at all affected levels
  • Be structured in achievable chunks
  • Specify roles and responsibilities
  • Be flexible

And this list. Not just another list but it is a LIST about COMMUNICATION. How can I not love it?

What to communicate

  • What the change program is and what it plans to do
  • Why the change is taking place
  • What the scope of the change program is
  • What hurdles stand in the way of implementation
  • What the criteria for success are and how success will be measured
  • How people will be rewarded for success

The most important thing I took away from this course, besides all of the memories of times I have witnessed poorly rolled out change, was how to deal with resisters.

If you encounter resisters, try to gain their support by:

  • Encouraging them to openly express their thoughts and feelings about the change program
  • Listening carefully to their concerns, exploring their fears and taking their comments seriously
  • Engaging them in the planning and implementation processes—making them a part of the solution
  • Identifying those who have something to lose and anticipating how they might respond
  • Helping them find new roles either in your group or somewhere else in the organization—roles that represent genuine contributions and mitigate their losses

Also, as you consider resisters, be sure to evaluate what part you may be playing in causing their resistance. It's possible that your approach to managing change or your leadership style may be threatening to others, thereby causing unnecessary friction and conflict.

That part about evaluating what part I might be playing in causing their resistance is HUGE! That's the part that most people are missing.

I am excited to put these practices into action and see if I can fix some of the failed changes we have implemented around here lately.

At least until I take the course about now not to be a fixer...

I am off to turn this weakness into a strength!


My source for this information is Harvard ManageMentor.


Kristin said...

Hmmm....very interesting subject. I agree with you that people are soooo resistant to change. It takes a very inventive and wise leader to be able to heard a group into change willingly and with a positive mindset! Thanks for making me think today :-)

GingerSnap23 said...

did you know your first quote by Wendall Holmes is one of my most favorites? i cut it out a while ago and hung it above my monitor as a daily reminder. love it! and I also took a change mangement course. ours is called CAP (change acceleration process). all very interesting. all about building by in and acceptance first. oh. and i totally invented the whole change process and have managed to change you just now. ;-)