Updated: Aug 10, 2018
We’ve looked at past, present and possible future challenges you might
meet on the path of your change process. Now it’s time to look at what
you actually do to kick it off, get people working on it and getting
There’s nothing fancy here. We are going to highlight what’s important
to do. Because you may have noticed, what you know is not always what you do.
Let’s start with simplicity.
At its root, change in large organizations is no different than individual, family or community change. It’s about belief and behavior. Believing that losing weight, for example, contributes to better health, can improve the likelihood you’ll take action. And it helps to behave differently—eat less, exercise more—and focus on practice and behavior to see the results. Both behavior and belief matter.
When we move from person change to people change—individual to teams to organizations— behavior and belief are even more in play. It’s more complicated, not just by sheer size, but by the number of voices talking about new beliefs and behaviors.
But whether it’s getting your kid to participate in family chores, changing how your team
collaborates with other departments, or implementing an unwanted system-wide technology change, all the conversations start here
• What are we doing?
• Why are we doing it?
• How are we going to do it?
• What’s the impact on me?
Let’s Get Clear on What’s Happening and Where We’re Going
Let’s start with an assumption that there is good intention, open and honest interaction and a willingness for both leaders and employees to work together.
Getting clarity, by creating an open exchange about the questions above, is where success starts. Remember, people do what they create. In the boxes below I’ve outlined the two sides of the equation—how a change is led and how it’s implemented—the leadership side and the team member side. This is about some of the key behaviors that will build belief in making a change that works.
How a Change is Led and How It’s Implemented
Steps to Precision and Grace
Precision and grace are two elements of change that seem like opposites. Yet, as the famous American chef Julia Child learned when she wrote her first cookbook, measuring and exactness matters. And so does paying attention to that extra je ne sais quoi that makes the stew work. Organization change is just like that—a baseline of precision with an
openness to grace—sensing what else is needed and acting on that.
The chart above is a good start to make this happen. There is no one size fits all recipe. Many factors, like circumstances (emergency or future desire), size of the business and size of the change, personality of the leader, style and culture of the organization, type and number of stakeholders (employees, customers, partners, board, stockholders, vendors)—these are all ingredients that will affect the stew.
So let’s break each of these steps into possible ways it could go. This is how to start.
Steps and Activities in a Change Process
A dear friend and mentor taught me many years ago that there are four key ingredients to change
1. Simplicity—If it’s simple enough that anybody can explain it, then you can create clarity.
2. Clarity—If it’s clear, then you can start to make a plan, and precision is a possibility.
3. Precision—If everyone has the same picture in their heads, precision leads to action.
4. Grace—Without openness, empathy and a willingness to roll with the punches, you’ll never get there—because this work requires humor, courtesy, light-footedness and goodwill.
Even though change must come from within, we often ask for help from guides. In our personal lives, whether it’s going to the gym, attending Weight Watchers or getting a personal trainer—somehow becoming healthier and stronger goes easier with a coach. We crave some outside structure and discipline, and the attention helps too.
So get yourself a coach if you want to. But remember—the work, the energy, the ability to sustain over the long haul—is all up to you and your team. You can get it done with simplicity, clarity, precision and grace.
This completes the four part series on Four Questions Your Change Plan Must Answer—
Part 4: What do you do?