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.

If you found this post thought provoking, please share it with others and thank you for visiting my blog!

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Top 15 Astounding Quotes on Change Management

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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

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.

A Random Act of Kindness for Wordless Wednesday

When was the last time someone reached out to you and performed a random act of kindness? I was pleasantly surprised when a complete stranger recently did something thoughtful for me just when I needed it most. As a result of her good-hearted deed, I plan to honor her by paying it forward.

WholeHeartedThankYou

As thought leaders, we sometimes forget the view, taking a moment to acknowledge the people around us via random acts of kindness can go a long way. We get so caught up in our calendars, goals and tasks and only see the road ahead. But when we slow down a little to enjoy, pleasant surprises seem to come out of the woodwork.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, this past Monday, has been deemed a day to encourage making a difference in communities. As I wrote in a previous post called: Servant Leadership: Facts about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. King was a strong proponent of servant leadership, so whether or not you took action this week, I would like to propose a challenge.

What can you do to make a difference for someone this week? Please make the effort, then come back here and share your story below. I’d like to hear what you did, the response you got and how it made you feel. I look forward to hearing from you.

Day 18: TED Video Brené Brown: Listening to Shame

Owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the BRAVEST thing we will ever do”                                                               Brené Brown, from The Gifts of Imperfection

Shame, everybody has it, no one wants to talk about it. Perhaps that is because if we name it, it can’t exist, or many of us don’t know how to engage in the discourse because we never saw the dialogue modeled in our own family systems.

But the consequences of not having the conversation neglect our opportunities for healthier living and leadership. I’m not suggesting that we all pull out our chairs for full-blown kumbayah sessions in professional settings, but rather that we take some time to understand its dynamics. If a negative emotion such as shame inspires us to do something different, that means we take emotional risk, which takes courage. Wouldn’t it make sense that part of being authentic leaders mean we acknowledge our own fallibility and show compassion when we observe it in others? What would the effect be if we had more conversations about times we witnessed someone share stories about overcoming shame? It seems to me that it could be a tool with the power to teach some mighty potent lessons.

I will never forget the knot in my stomach the first time I went to hit the publish button on a blog post that made me so transparent I almost didn’t listen to my gut. But in the midst of my own uncertainty, I chose to do it because like you, we all have stories to tell and  when we give, we get.

Our experiences about adversity have the power to plants seeds of courage and hope. Because I chose to hit that submission button, the person who inspired the story thanked me and shared no one had ever acknowledged her experience in that manner. She had no idea what she endured could have been thought of in such a dignified way. Now that was a GIFT.

As Brené Brown demonstrates brilliantly in the TED video below, compassion is the antidote or shame. It’s a powerful message. What do you think about it? Please share your thoughts below.

Three things I am grateful for today:

  1. Those who have had the fortitude to be vulnerable and share their stories so I could learn more about myself
  2. Brené’s message that vulnerability is not weakness, it is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change and that it is the most accurate measurement of courage
  3. Her statement that empathy and compassion are the antidote to shame

Read more of this post

Personal Courage and Growth is a Choice………..

How many times do we allow negative self talk to be in control when life is so full of empowerment choices? When we are hard on ourselves it is an especially important time to break the pattern because we can. We get to give ourselves permission to learn, recycle and reinvent!

Courage takes guts and is about doing whatever it takes to find a place of peace and serenity. Its about facing the things in life that are hard and walking through them no matter what challenges present themselves. It takes an awful lot of humility to face our flaws, but acknowledgement is the first step to healing.

Years ago I was at a personal growth seminar by a local author by the name of Earnie Larson. I was saddened to hear of his passing in January of 2011. He changed the lives of many people and the quote from him I will always carry with me. “What we learn, we practice. What we practice, we become. What we become has consequences.” That statement was about change and teaching ourselves new behaviors.

When we hear the saying that people don’t change it drives me crazy because guess what?

Change —- Is —- Constant.    

It is the way people try not to transform and grow that is crazy. How easily we forget that fear can be healthy if it motivates us to do something differently. It is how we experience adjustments in our lives and what we do with that information that matters. Personal courage and growth is a choice, so what are you waiting for?

Greatness requires simplicity. Get out there and make it happen because you can.

What does having courage mean to you?

Fascinating Video: Information & Social Media are Changing at the Speed of Light

Sony played this video at an executive conference this year. It is extremely thought provoking and demonstrates how social media and technology is changing the way we think, learn, communicate, so much more.

More about Kakie Fitzsimmons

How did I end up here?

In the face of uncertainty, I do my best to begin from a place of gratitude. As I began setting up this blog I found myself thinking, “How in the world did I end up here?”  It’s because of the one thing in life that is constant. Change. For many years I worked in roles that included marketing, communications, program management, project management, training and leadership development in the financial services industry. I learned the value of getting the right message, to the right people, at the right time, through the right medium. I am grateful for the many gifts those experiences gave, the lessons it has taught and the lessons it continues to teach me. Read more of this post