Leading Through Change Management
Change is all around us…..
It’s everywhere we go! I’m sure that’s a lyric from a song…..
Change in the general sense is unavoidable. Every change, whether you perceive it to be good or bad, holds opportunity. There really will be a silver lining if you look for it! Change happens across every walk of life, to everyone, all the time. Change is, in fact, business as usual, and yet often when it happens at work our first reaction is to resist. Why is that?
People are often nervous about change because it represents uncertainty. It can threaten job security, relationships and what we’re used to. But with change comes choice: you can choose to move with it or against it, through it or around it. But what you cannot do is avoid it. It will probably happen anyway whether you want it to or not.
So ultimately how you approach change is your choice. Only you can choose your best way forward. Use every opportunity of change as a chance to check in with yourself and your current goals. Will it enhance or detract from them? Arm yourself by knowing all the facts. Look at your current state, think of your ideal future. How does the change that is afoot help you on your journey? What stands in your way, what can you control vs what can you learn to accept?
“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.” – quote attributed to Charles Darwin
Watch Inspire Group Leadership Development Manager Nicolette’s 1-minute video on leading through change management
Leading through change
Being aware of how people approach change, whether in their work or personal life, will help manage their reaction to it. Understanding this and sharing their journey with them in a supportive way is the role of the leader. Leadership plays a very important part in the acceptance of change and the difference between a good change experience and a bad one!
As a leader, clearly communicating why a change is happening and the implications/opportunities for the individual, team and company will ultimately help people accept it. The chance of leading successful change, is increased if you understand the holistic nature of change and can recognise and plan for the things beyond your control, any barriers to change and enablers, that will make the change process easier – like clear and frequent communication around what is happening.
So, yes the key role of the leader is first to understand the change and its impacts (positive and negative) and then translate this for each member of their team in their personal context. Everyone experiences change differently. The environment and their own personal journey are all factors that contribute to the experience and it is my belief that the leader needs to help their people understand these connections so that their change journey is an uplifting one.
Change is constant. It’s not a one-off thing, so models can be a good guide. But, as we’ve already said, each individual’s experience of that change is different so a model can also be constraining. There is no right or wrong reaction or way of going about things. ANY model or framework is a ‘cue’print to check in on (almost like a safety net of what to expect) rather than a ‘blueprint’ that you live or die by.
By focusing on achieving the following five goals, the ADKAR model can be used to effectively plan out change on both an individual and organisational level. We’ve also included some useful questions to ask to help with understanding how your team are approaching a particular change.
At Inspire Leaders we have our own change tool which we’ve christened the Accept/Change model. It’s very simple and yet is the perfect ‘cue’ print for approaching change. Ask yourself “Can I change it? If yes then do so. If no, then accept it in the way that best serves you.
Read more on the constant nature of change in this HBR article:
“Leaders should view change not as an occasional disruptor but as the very essence of the management job. Setting tough goals, establishing processes to reach them, carrying out those processes and carefully learning from them — these steps should characterize the unending daily life of the organization at every level” – Schaffer, Robert H (26 October ,2017; Harvard Business Review)
Embracing change on a personal level
So why, when change is all around us do we resist? Are we really all creatures of habit, happy with the status quo, existing in our every day? Well I’m not and I encourage you to step outside of your every day and dip your toes in the change that’s all around you –- what’s the worst that could happen?
If you look at change from the perspective of how it can add value to your current way of being then you may be less resistant to it – there is always opportunity and it may knock at your door if you choose to let it! Whether or not you answer is up to you!
“The measure of intelligence is the ability to change” – Albert Einstein.
Take a leap of faith, challenge yourself, find a different version of ‘you’ in the opportunities that change can bring. It can revitalise you and awaken you to new horizons.
It’s also always worth keeping in mind that well-known adage “A change is as good as a rest.”
Embrace change; it could alter your life, and you want your life to be the best it can be don’t you?
Nicolette is the Leadership Development Manager at Inspire Group, an award winning international learning design provider. She has a strong opinion on how leadership development can take the focus away from leadership being seen as a task to leadership as a way of being. Her mission is to improve the lives of NZers through how we lead ourselves first and then others.
To learn more about how Inspire Group is changing lives through better learning, contact Nicolette or any of the Inspire team- and follow us through the usual channels. We have a lot more to share….!