Recently I had a catch up meeting with a friend. He shared with me how hard he finds it to keep momentum going while implementing long term strategic changes. He was very concerned that not only would he miss his more immediate milestones, but also could fall short of his long-term goals.
Regrettably, his dilemma is common- change is not easy, but it is constant. Also, people don’t like to be told what to do – even though it can be in their best interests. I’ve found that traditional command and control management rarely works today. Since most people have suffered through two major recessions since 2000, change can be perceived as a threat to their personal well-being.
Coincidentally I came across this article in the Harvard Business Review and it sums up what I’ve seen. Successful change requires simplification, intentionality, persistence and sympathy. After over 30 years studying consumer behavior, people don’t change unless compelled. Any change will require a bit of pain – re-learning tasks and changing habits. In some cases, there will even be those who “win” and those who “lose.” So, your colleagues need a pretty good explanation for why things are now going to be better (and not just different). They need to feel as if your explanation and rationale make sense and are logical. They also need to know that while you have expectations, you will provide the support through the appropriate resources to help them make the transition and to meet their new obligations. So, you need to communicate.
Communicate so your colleagues know where you are taking them. Communicate often to keep them on track. And lastly, communicate honestly, so they know if progress is being made, or if additional changes will be necessary.
Read the article – it’s pretty good. For more perspective, feel free to reach Michael Tinati at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 301-654-5585 x101.