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10 Steps to a Changed World

by C. Jason Martin

Change efforts succeed to the degree the human side is well-managed.

For most of us organizational change is not of our making. Our experience of change that is not of our own making ranges from inconvenience to abject terror. Change that affects our ability to earn an income, maintain status, and progress in our careers falls closer to the terror end of the continuum. Change of this magnitude can alter our world, our world view, and our behavior. Many previously productive employees will disengage from the process and only do the minimum required; in a poorly managed change even the best contributors can become saboteurs, and people and departments that used to support each other can become bitter rivals.

All of this can be mitigated, and much of it can be avoided by paying close attention to the needs we all have during major change.

  1. Consider all my needs. Do a thorough, enterprise-wide stakeholder analysis that includes an “environmental impact” assessment of who wins, who loses, who is being forced to play along, and the effect each area has on all other areas. This includes all points along the value chain, inside and outside of the organization.
  2. Give me a voice. Include representatives of every level of each affected area in the project selection, definition, measurement, analysis, planning, and execution phases. Make sure your methods and measures at each point are meaningful and credible to me.
  3. Tell everyone the same story. All communication should be as transparent as legally possible. Tell me and my boss the same thing about the new expectations you have for me, preferably at the same time.
  4. Manage me differently. You want different behaviors so you must provide different clues and cues. If it’s the same old thing for you, it will be for me as well. Leaders and managers viewed as part of the old system, even for a day, must change first.
  5. Make me part of the solution. Provide tools, education, and resources so I don’t inadvertently put more holes in this boat even as we’re busy bailing it out.
  6. Keep me informed. Clear goals, regular and frequent feedback, and providing big and small picture context helps me to stay focused.
  7. Reward effort as well as success. Embrace reduced effectiveness and even the occasional failure as a necessary part of mastering new skills and procedures.
  8. Be honest. When you don’t know, tell me you don’t know. When the news is not good for me, tell me straight the first time. When the new is good for me, help me keep it in perspective.
  9. Plan for Unintended Consequences. Admit you’re not perfect and that even with your best efforts you haven’t thought of everything. Then let me know you have a plan for when the unexpected and unintended happens.
  10. Follow through. If you don’t, I won’t.

C. Jason Martin, COO Leading Edge Opportunities – 619-249-2075

Copyright 2006. This content may be forwarded in full, with copyright, contact, and creation information intact, without specific permission, when used only in a not-for-profit context