Things Change, People Transition: Change as a Process

In general, change isn’t complicated, but it is complex. In its simplest form we use terms like; to alter, shift, adjust, move, switch, transfer, etc. Change is a transformation or transition from one phase, condition, or state, to another.

From a change management perspective, assumptions that each individual impacted by a new initiative will always experience change on time, on budget and on schedule, is flawed, because this approach lacks context and doesn’t always consider the people side of change. It may not consider outcomes and results after the change or ask what behaviors need to change and be sustained. Organizational and personal change have to be approached and measured differently because people embrace or resist change differently. No two are alike.

Organizational and personal change have to be approached and measured differently because no one will embrace or resist change the same. Individual Response to Change Management BestBehavior doesn’t happen in a predictive order and as a result, it is imperative to think about change as a process, rather than a project.

Things change. People transition.

The change curve was created in the 1960’s by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross as a way to explain the grieving process. Over time, it has evolved as a tool to help people understand responses and reactions to significant change. Since change is a non-linear process, some people may take two steps forward and one step back along this curve for a number of reasons. Some examples might include:

  • Assumed or no role clarity for the change
  • No visible support and commitment from leadership
  • Lack of project, organizational and individual change integration
  • Those impacted do not feel they have had input into the process
  • Leaders and/or impacted people are not engaged
  • No consistency in change messaging formats, channels and frequency
  • Lack of transparency about why the change is happening
  • People impacted don’t understanding of “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM)
  • Business readiness or training may have limited or no understanding of adult learning theory application
  • People don’t feel permission to speak with candor
  • Past performance with organizational change could create assumptions that history will repeat itself
  • Impact on current role and/or fear of losing a job

There are countless strategies and tools we can use to help us to understand where people fall on the change commitment curve and then subsequent strategies to take corrective action. As change management practitioners, we focus on results, outcomes, reinforcement and realization of benefits (including ROI), for the people side of change. We do this using a structured, yet flexible set of tools, processes, skills and principles to achieve the required goals of projects and initiatives.

What challenges and approaches have you experienced or used to help bring people impacted by the changes along for the journey?

Please leave a comment below. I’d like this blog to be a forum where people feel comfortable sharing what they agree or disagree with along with best practices or key learnings.I will honor desired anonymity, so if you would like to leave a response without having your name listed, please feel free to let me know. Thank you for visiting my blog!

Individual and Organizational Change Management Integration Plan

Individual and Organizational Change Management Integration Plan

The complexity that accompanies change and the process that goes along with it means different things to different people. As a result, we must view change through two lenses of individuals and organizations  because they are parts of a complex system. This intricacy blends art, science, culture, inputs, outputs, feedback, leadership, strategy, governance, competency, internal and external forces, change impacts, individual needs and values, management practices, change activities, skills, communications planning and more.

Convergence, the concept that there are always many ways to get to the same result, is a reality when we are creating strategic plans for new endeavors. Good change leadership involves anticipating how we will navigate potential impacts to individuals, teams and organizations collectively because they are inextricable. Assessments and coaching tools are available which can help us in performing readiness temperature checks, identifying potential pockets of resistance and understanding where people are on the change curve so we can determine appropriate action plans.

The three-phased Prosci® approach in the diagram is an example of a tool that I like to use with leadership early in the process because it clarifies the mystery of change management. It illustrates that we have a structured approach to managing people (teams, and organizations), processes and technology from a current state towards the program’s desired future state. In addition, it builds off of previous posts where we examined using Awareness, Desire, Knowledge, Ability and Reinforcement (ADKAR®) as a tool for gaining commitment from individuals to increase adoption. It is also tied to how we implement strategic engagement by partnering with the PM and Senior Leaders to integrate change management into the project plan. This is important because according to Prosci’s annual benchmarking research on change[1], the greatest overall contributor to project success is active and visible sponsorship

There are countless templates, tools, and approaches used by Change Management Practitioners everywhere. It is important to me that this blog is a forum where people feel comfortable sharing what they agree or disagree with along with best practices or key learnings. As a result, below are some questions I invite you to answer:

  1. What approaches (good, bad or indifferent) have you taken that integrate changes experienced by people and organizations and what did you learn from it?
  2. What approaches have you observed and what did you think about it?

I look forward to hearing from you, thanks for visiting my blog!

I will honor desired anonymity, so if you would like to leave a response without having your name listed, please feel free to let me know!

Engagement: Integrating Change Management with Project Plans

Change Management and Project Plan IntegrationFocusing on the people side of change is arguably one of the most important tasks as we begin phase one of preparing for a change initiative. In early phases of a project, we are seeking to understand the nature of the change and preparing the organization for it. Exceptional change management works when we partner with leadership to ensure timely and consistent messaging, early and often.

According to Prosci’s annual benchmarking research on change, the greatest overall contributor to project success is active and visible sponsorshipAs facilitators’ of the change, we have the unique opportunity to bring sponsors along on the journey at this point, so they understand why their role is critical in mitigating resistance, driving uptake and ensuring positive end-user adoption. We also can provide them with coaching and tools needed to carry out their roles throughout the change process.

As we move towards phase two, managing the change, we need to think about how we are going to engage the project manager for discussion to integrate change deliverables and change activities into the project plan. Building rapport starts with laying out the process of how we will prepare for, manage and reinforce the changes. It is the perfect way to set up role clarity and frame desired outcomes; while ensuring a shared vision.

What is your integration approach in partnering with the project manager for these discussions? Please join the conversation and share your best practices below. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Individual Change Commitment for Increased Adoption

Some days I have a “love-hate” relationship with blogging because it isn’t a clean, cut and dry process. Although I have an idea of what I want to write, it takes time to figure out how to put the words together.

Bird by Bird,” a book about writing by author Anne LaMott, contains a brilliant piece called; “Shitty First Drafts” (SFD) where she explains why the first draft we write is always the worst. It is usually longer than it needs to be, it may not flow well, etc. Towards the end of this excerpt, she states; “Almost all good writing begins with terrible first efforts. You need to start somewhere. Start by getting something — anything — down on paper. A friend of mine says that the first draft is the down draft — you just get it down. The second draft is the up draft — you fix it up.

In her book “Rising Strong,” Brene Brown applied Anne’s concept of SFD to our behaviors, which I believe could be an interesting application in change management resistance. For Brown, an SFD is the first story we make up in our heads before we have all the information needed to be pragmatic about the real story. When we realize we have an SFD, she recommends asking ourselves other questions such as:

  • What do I know objectively?
  • What more do I need to learn and understand about the other people in the story?ADKAR Individual Change Commitment Progress
  • What more do I need to learn and understand about myself?

The concept of an SFD as applied by Brown aligns with how people handle change individually in the workplace. When we are in phase 1: preparing for change, collaborative conversations center around outcomes so we have a clear definition of what successful change will look like for organizations and individuals. During this time, we identify change qualities, assess the organization, integrate change into the project plan, select a change sponsorship model and more.  This post focuses Prosci’s individual change management model, ADKAR® which is an acronym based on the five building blocks for change that include:

  • AWARENESS of the need to change
  • DESIRE to participate in, and support the change
  • KNOWLEDGE of how to change (and what the change looks like)
  • ABILITY to implement the change on a day-to-day basis
  • REINFORCEMENT to keep the change in place

This model is linear and there are tools to assess where people fall in the commitment process. Our goal is to make sure end users have to tools to effectively adopt, embrace and reinforce the change so the behavior is sustained post go-live.

It is important to note that there will be groups and people who will move up the change commitment level at different strides, and in various ways. The right coaching plan roadmaps will be a great tool to guide sponsors and stakeholders so they are mentored differently to ensure message positioning is coming from the right channels and gets everyone excited. Increased adoption occurs when each group understands the current and future state, the business need for the change, how they will be impacted and what is in it for them to incorporate the new behavior(s), etc.

Please share stories, challenges or remedies you have used to deal with resistance to change.

If you would like to remain anonymous, just let me know in your post and I will be sure to honor that. Join the conversation and thanks for visiting my blog!

Top 15 Astounding Quotes on Change Management

ChangeManagementQuotesInformation

This week over at The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge, Michelle Weber asks us to: “let the alphabet be your inspiration.” I took this picture at the James J. Hill Business Library, in Downtown St. Paul. I love the charm historical intrigue that is felt as soon as I walk in the door. The architecture is astonishing and I love doing research within its walls.

The alphabet inspires us in writing, words, books and more. Below is a list of 15 quotes about change management that I like and believe would be great for any presentation.

It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” – Charles Darwin

Proactive change is a function of a gap between managerial intent and the reality they see now or in the future.” –  Michael Beer

You can’t build an adaptable organization without adaptable people – and individuals change only when they have to, or when they want to.” -Gary Hamel

Throughout human history, people have developed strong loyalties to traditions, rituals, and symbols. In the most effective organizations, they are not only respected but celebrated. It is no coincidence that the most highly admired corporations are also among the most profitable.”  – Rosabeth Moss Kanter

Change in any part of a system impacts all elements of that system: Products, Processes and most importantly People. The impact of each of these elements must be considered before a change initiative is engaged and then continually during the change management process.”  – Malati Marlene Sinazy, MEd (1)

Without change there is no innovation, creativity or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.” –William Pollard

The ability to anticipate, manage and capitalize on pervasive change is often the difference between market leadership and extinction.”  – Hillary Bland IBM

Culture does not change because we desire to change it. Culture changes when the organization is transformed – the culture reflects the realities of people working together every day.” – Frances Hesselbein

To bring about successful change, it’s important to understand the key drivers for the target audience affected by the change so you can design appropriate interventions and ensure the change works for most of those affected.” – Dave Webber (Source: Bob Little, MindTools )

Successful change leadership teams build a clear plan that can be easily shared in order to start creating movement, in order to overcome the inertia of the organization, and then they focus on building and sustaining the momentum necessary to realize the desired transformation, whether that is a “BIG C” change or a “little c” change.”  – Braden Kelley (1)

Your success in life isn’t based on your ability to simply change. It is based on your ability to change faster than your competition, customers, and business.” -Mark Sanborn

We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change.  And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.” – Peter Drucker

Acceptance is not a state of passivity or inaction. I am not saying you can’t change the world, right wrongs, or replace evil with good. Acceptance is, in fact, the first step to successful action. If you don’t fully accept a situation precisely the way it is, you will have difficulty changing it. Further, if you don’t fully accept the situation, you will never really know if the situation should be changed.” –  Peter McWilliams

“Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.”  – King Whitney Jr.

It follows that acceleration in the rate of change will result in an increasing need for reorganization. Reorganization is usually feared, because it means disturbance of the status quo, a potential threat to peoples vested interests in their jobs, and an upset to established ways of doing things. For these reasons, needed reorganization is often deferred. With a resulting loss in effectiveness and increase in costs.” – Niccolo Machiavelli

Do you have additional quotes to add? Please join the conversation by sharing them below, I look forward to hearing from you, thanks for visiting my blog!

(1) Source: Peter Orban OrgMapper Blog

Circles of Meaning

Once in a while, I like participating in the “Weekly Photo Challenge” over at The Daily Post. A new meme comes out each Friday and I think about the proposed topic. I wonder what I could say about it and what my readers will be interested in as well. This week, Cheri asks us to let a shape, a circle, inspire us.

Circles Change Management Business TimeI took this picture at the James J. Hill Business Library because it had a certain old world charm that grabbed my attention. I like the concept of time as it relates to the evolution of knowledge throughout the ages.

Circles have been used metaphorically since the beginning of history. In many cultures, they represent unity, enlightenment, divinity and protection. At first glance, a circle can seem simple, yet they are one of the most common and universal signs used throughout history of the world.

Circles have symbolic use in divinity: For example, with Taoism the Yin Yang image embodies two forces in the universe that are opposites that balance one another. Hinduism uses the Dharma Chakra to represent the wheel of law that leads to enlightenment. Artists have used halos in Christianity and Buddhism to symbolize light and holiness. Paganism circles exemplified supernatural forces, and in ancient times Celtics stood inside of circles for protection.

Circles are symbols of inclusiveness, wholeness and eternity because the continuous line characterizes something with no beginning and no end.  They also represent completion or “coming full circle,” as in starting where one began. Circles often remind us about the cycles of life, years, seasons, days, minutes, hours and of course, TIME.

In business we use circles in many ways. In meetings, we sit in circles, in flow charts, circles show beginning or ending of processes, we move in cycles from centralizing to decentralizing something away from or to something else. We also assume many things in business happen in linear patterns, which is not the case. A circle could be a way to make the case for this.

In change management, we can think about circles as cycles of behavior. We evaluate and measure individual change differently than organizational change because successful organizational change happens when individuals deliver and sustain the new behavior.  Our focus is to change old ways of thinking by providing various levels of coaching guides and tools for leadership, Circles of Concern Influence Change Controlstakeholder and sponsors during different stages of projects.

We provide assessments to mitigate resistance to change because we understand that behaviors happen in cycles or patterns. One example of many, might be to leverage Steven Covey’s “Circles of Influence” model (where appropriate) for conversation about what we control, influence and have concerns about.

When we integrate change management with project management, studies have proven it leads to higher levels of success such as increased in adoption rates and sustaining of new behaviors.

Are there other ways you see circles used as symbols in business, project and change management? I’m looking forward to having you join the conversation. Thanks for visiting my blog!

 

Appreciation as Fuel

Fire at Kidani VillageSo I was staring at my computer screen and had an epiphany. The only thing I was processing was a blank stare, and I knew I had to get out to clear my mind. This month Minnesota is on target to experience the warmest December in history and on this day, it was just 31 degrees. I knew feeling the fresh air on my face was just what I needed because I do my best critical thinking when I am walking outside. I grabbed my walking shoes and was quickly out the door.

Feeling the crisp, cool wind on my face, set the tone for this stroll and got me thinking about gratitude. A simple thank you goes such a long way and can be a ritual that begins a chain reaction which may surprise you. Appreciation is fuel that warms people, inspires them to pay it forward and doesn’t take much extra effort.

Research has shown that expressing thankfulness increases confidence, connection and feelings of competency. Engagement matters and when we find little ways to express appreciation it sends the message  “I see you” and it promotes team work and improves the sense of community. I like to think of gratitude as a multiplier because it increases emotional well-being and improves productivity. That, in turn, leads to innovation and creativity, which is when we do our best work.

I have a board on Pinterest called “Appreciation, which has some thoughtful ideas for expressing gratitude.

Take a look and let me know what you think. I want to hear from you. How do you show appreciation?

Please share your response below and thank upi for visiting my blog!

Thirteen Behaviors that Build Trust in Relationships

Building trust is a process of modeling behavior shared vision and repeating messaging

Building trust is a process of modeling behavior shared vision and repeating messaging

What behaviors build trust in relationships?

Think about a time you were part of a really effective team that excelled at pulling together to achieve a shared outcome. What were the attributes that made it successful?

Research shows that teams who collaborate to attain a common end goal are usually high in trust. Success often relies on a group with a sense of shared values, vision and purpose. When all stakeholders are given opportunities to have input, they are inspired to build something together, so as change leaders, how do we work to create a culture of trust? Recently I read Stephen Covey’s book called; “The Speed of Trust,” which looks at trust from three perspectives.

  • Trust as an economic driver that boosts productivity and results. Emotional deposits and withdrawals as an example.
  • Trust as the #1 competency in leadership
  • Trust can be learned

So who is a high trust leader? It is a person with high credibility, solid interpersonal skills with the ability to cultivate trust in teams and throughout organizations and knows that trust is critical to productivity and cost. The four cornerstones below are key for leaders to establish trust.

  1. High Competence -This combines the education and experience we bring to the table
  2. Integrity (Character) – Consistent alignment of thoughts feelings and actions with values principles and goals
  3. Intent (Character) – Self-reflection that examines why we do the things we do
  4. Results (Competency) – Make us credible

13 Traits of Strong Trust Leaders

  1. Talk straight so everyone understands your point of view
  2. Demonstrate respect – how you treat the one has an effect on the many
  3. Create transparency (act with authenticity and no hidden agendas)
  4. Rights all wrongs – Demonstrate accountability and humility
  5. Show loyalty to every person – Credits others for success, always speaks of others as if they are present
  6. Deliver results  (vs activity)
  7. Continuous self-improvement and commitment to learning
  8. Confront reality with tact – acknowledge unspoken and confront the issue(s), not the person
  9. Clarify expectationsvalidate, acknowledge and demonstrate flexibility to renegotiate when appropriate
  10. Practice Accountability and hold others accountable. Clearly communicate progress of self and others
  11. Listen first with intent to understand (instead of respond) what is important to others and to ensure they feel understood
  12. Keep commitments (according to research, this is the number one way to build trust)
  13. Extend trust to others
 As someone who works in change management, a good exercise might be to go through these behaviors, ask your team their thoughts about them and talk them through. If everyone agrees and has input, it could offer a basis for creating something together. It’s part of what makes change management initiatives successful.
Thanks for visiting my blog, leave a comment below and feel free to share this information with others.

Refracting Light Life | Kakie’s Corner

These pictures are from one of our first “free” nights in South East Asia, for the Global Business Systems Executive MBA Global Studies Course, Singaporecourse in the Executive MBA program. This evening four of us opted for dinner on the rooftop in Little India. I heard a calming sound of flapping water, came around the corner and this beautiful scenery, was what I encountered.

This week’s photo challenge asks that we show what “refraction” means to us. Refraction occurs when a ray of light is indirectly deflected by a wave of energy that passes from one medium to another, which causes the illumination to bend and become distorted. For example: water to light, air to glass etc.

I interpret “Refraction” as a metaphor for life. Read more of this post

Transition – Defining “Between”

Transitions - Adapting to ChangeToday’s post is about “between,” which comes in many forms. It made me consider the various ways we process and deal with change. Regardless of its application (professional, emotional or personal), the techniques for recognizing and approaching transition differs for each of us.

Sometimes it flows and feels natural, as captured in the photo for this post. A young man who is between testing for his next belt level in karate and receiving a new status because he is ready and has done the work. He has practiced to learn the movement and techniques with precision and accuracy, and he knows that along with his sense of accomplishment come confidence and the long term rewards that follow.

In graduate school, we are taught that we should expect resistance when it comes to change in the workplace. Opposition is a natural part of the process during transformation and frequently rears its head when people do not understand why change is necessary, or there is not consistent support, repetition and communication of the messaging.

OD experts explain there are symbolic rituals necessary for organizational change that brings everyone along, so they feel as though they are part of the process and have input to the outcome. It is a blueprint that incorporates the right guidance systems so human capital can collectively take a step back, acknowledge their current reality, say goodbye to the old way of doing things while working together to build a future. [1] (Kanter, 2008) The change will be more successful when all stakeholders understand their roles, contribution and call to action.

In our personal lives, navigating transition is more complex because not everyone is given the coping mechanisms for recognizing and dealing with change in healthy ways.

When it comes to how we work through transformation as individuals, there are times when we need to sit with discomfort and uncertainty for a bit as part of our reflection. Often our experience can provide answers and this world is one full of endless possibilities. Although there is a school of thought that might agree it is easier to give help than to ask for it, leveraging our support system is a resource we cannot ignore.

Discomfort is healthy when it motivates us to use our courage and move towards something better. Transition can be the beginning of something exciting and new that will provide opportunities to grow, learn, unlearn, re-think, re-learn, heal, innovate and re-invent.

Awareness of our own resistance to change could come in the form of anxiety, physical discomfort, fear, anger, sadness, insecurities, etc. In time, we learn the best way to overcome any of that is to get input, learn from it and then practice new behaviors until they feel normal.

Someone I know spent a great deal of time trying to work through a process like this. He shared what worked for him while he was struggling. His solutions are below.

Write down the following and reflect on the questions below, one at a time:

  1. “Yes, this change is hard.” (Make a list of what makes it hard for you)
  2. “How can I objectively examine the pros and cons of this situation?
  3. What part of my fear is getting in the way?
  4. How can this experience be my teacher?
  5. What can I do to move forward?

Once those issues had been examined, he found a trusted source to share it with that we will call “his people.” The ones he knew would not judge, give uninvited advice, or try to fix him or the situation. A trusted resource who would just listen. “His people” are the ones who have earned the right to hear his stories. It took practice, but it was amazing to see how the consistency of repeating the action over and over helped him grow.

So if you are finding yourself “between” something and are feeling in transition, perhaps his process could work for you as well. And who knows, you just may be happy you did. Thanks for visiting my blog, share your story or ask questions below, I’d love to hear from you!

[1] Kanter, R.M. (2008). Transforming giants. Harvard Business Review, 86(1), 43-52.

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The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Prompt. Danielle Hark of Broken Light Collective challenges us to photograph between. This week, capture something between two things, reflect on the process of transition, or interpret this word in your own way.

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