Save The Drama For Your Momma: Change, part 1

March 22, 2011 — Leave a comment


It is inevitable – change creates drama in most organizations. However, you have a choice as to whether you deal with change effectively or let it spiral out of control  – controlling you and creating unnecessary drama! Leaders need to be able to present a unified vision and convey support if they expect their people to embrace change. Indifference can lead to a rapid demise of the change effort. As a leader invoking change, make sure you provide:

  • A vision for how the change will impact the individual, team, division and organization
  • A firm commitment to change goals, while accepting input on the details
  • Specific, achievable objectives along with plans for achieving them
  • A roadmap for success with realistic timelines, budgets, and owners
  • A communication framework to support change adoption
  • Opportunities for people to give feedback during and after the change

Admittedly, organizational change is complex, but we often make it harder on ourselves than it has to be. Just as in the board game Clue, it is easy to engage in false assumptions that can lead our people down the path of suspicion and drama – away from the truth and the ultimate win. The result? A whole lot of ambiguous thinking regarding the application of structured, human-focused, change within the organization.

Here are just a few examples of how we can easily fall victim to false assumptions over our own realities:

People Resist Change: Actually, not always. People frequently seek out drastic changes in their lives and voluntarily embrace them. People do, however, resist being forced to change.
 How change is presented and managed will impact its success or failure far more than the change itself.  Most of us respond far better to change when we comprehend a valid reason for it – without solid justification, most people are likely to resist anyone who tries to force change upon them… and cause drama along the way.

Providing a solution is fixing the problem: ‘Buy-in’ suggests that a leader has defined the necessary change (or “the solution”) and now is attempting to convince or  persuade people to accept the change. This is not a good strategy because, in most cases, the leader has made little effort to effectively describe the problem. Of course people will resist change and create drama if they believe you are trying to fix something that’s not broken – perception is 90% of reality! If you, as a leader, are trying to sell a solution to a problem that people are not even aware of, is it any wonder they resist? Don’t attempt to sell a solution before you have defined the problem.
 If people are aware there is a problem and have the opportunity to help solve it, they will go to great lengths to support a change they perceive they are a part of.

As a leader you are not susceptible to the golden rule – Treat others as you would like to be treated: It is a fallacy to assume that leaders are any different than anyone else.  We all have hearts and minds, and want to be treated with respect and decency. Do you respond better to being told to change, or when people ask you to participate in change in response to a real problem?

Change isn’t easy, but there’s no reason for a change effort to be riddled with false assumptions and unnecessary drama if it is well planned and potential issues are proactively addressed. If you work alongside your people to meet practical, achievable goals, you won’t fail. By making change processes transparent, encouraging open dialogue, and being receptive to constructive criticism, you’ll help your people to accept change and will reap great rewards.

How do you keep from falling victim to false assumptions in your change efforts?

Stay tuned in for part 2 of Save The Drama For Your Momma: Change, as we look at the flip side of change, exploring more ideas that foster effective change. Please engage the discussion and let us know how you manage change in your organization. Feel free to contact me at  Sheri.Mackey@LuminosityGlobal.comor by visiting our website at www.LuminosityGlobal.com. Check back next week for the next post on Leadership Across Boundaries and Borders.

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Sheri is The Global Coach, founder of Luminosity Global Consulting Group, Global Executive Coach, Speaker, Writer and Global Business and Cultural Expert.

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