Thursday 19 August 2010

Ensuring change programs actually result in desired change

The majority of my work is about helping my clients to change what’s normal for the good of people, our planet, and for profit. This is my passion and purpose and I have had my shoulder at the wheel for almost two decades. Consequently I understand what works and what doesn’t regarding change programs.

One of the many actions that I take to ensure that I am always on the leading edge of thought, is to subscribe to many newsletters by change experts. One newsletter I always get great value from is Cultural Intelligence by Steve Simpson and Stef du Plessis. In their latest issue which you can download here there are some great insights into why 95% of change programs don’t work and how to stop people reverting to their old ways.

Here are some of the insights explored by Steve and Stef:

Start out right by getting as many people as possible involved particularly those who will be affected by the change.

Build the urgency - everyone in the organisation needs to see the
opportunity associated with the change - rather than being told about it.

Make everyone a choice-maker i.e. allow everyone to make choices and decisions.

Remove barriers and share successes.

I would add the following:

Bottom-up change is always more effective than top-down, therefore:
Ask employees what needs to change in order for them to be better engaged.
Ask other stakeholders what needs to change in order for them to be better engaged.
Do something about the answers received when you ask as above and involve the people concerned in the design and implementation of solutions.

Get outside help from experts to create strategies for changing, whatever it is your changing. We can see what you can’t because we do not have emotional involvement, however, always involve the people who will be the executors in the deciding of strategies.

Cascade strategies down to every individual performance plan therefore personalizing the strategy and ensuring desired change is integral to daily work. This will also greatly increase buy-in and ownership and therefore make execution likely.

Ensure intrinsic motivators are met as additional outcomes of your change program. According to Daniel Pink, and I agree with him, the key intrinsic motivators are:

the urge to direct our own lives
the desire to get better and better at something that matters
the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves

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