Tag Archives: business change programmes

Embedding Change – Making It Stick And Creating A Culture

Embedding Change – Making It Stick And Creating A Culture

Here are some ways to make sure the change in your organization is successful

  1. Give them the evidence Show people over and over that the change is real. Provide them with a steady stream of evidence to prove that the change has happened and is successful.  Set out to deliver real results at regular intervals in your change process and then tell people about them – don’t just wait for the big bang at the end. Get people involved and then get them to talk about their involvement.  Make sure everyone hears the news.
  2. Financial reward When loyalty and the joy of the job are not enough to keep people, they may need some financial or other rewards.  The promise of future reward may be enough to keep them engaged but make sure it isn’t too far out to be enticing — usually reasonable reward needs to be within a twelve-month timeframe. This risk is that when the reward is gained, you may lose them. If you want them to stay, you may need to keep a rolling “golden handcuff “ system
  3. Build change into formal systems and structures After a while, institutionalized things become so entrenched, people forget to resist and just do what is required, even if they do not agree with them.  So you can make changes stick by building them into the formal fabric of the organization, for example, in standards and personal objectives.
  4. Give them a new challenge A challenge is a great motivator that can focus people on new and different things. Get people to keep up interest in a change by giving them new challenges related to the change.  Make sure the challenges really stimulate them and keep them looking to the future.
  5. Reward people for doing the right things. A surprisingly common trap in change is to ask (or even demand) that people change, yet the reward system that is driving their behavior is not changed. Asking for teamwork then rewarding people as individuals is a very common example.  So when you make a change, make sure that you align the reward system with the changes that you want to happen.
  6. Rites of passage Rituals are symbolic acts to which we attribute significant meaning. A celebration to mark a change is used in many cultures, ranging from rites of passage to manhood for aboriginal tribes to the wedding ceremonies of Christian and other religions. Such ritual passages are often remembered with great nostalgia, and even the remembrance of them becomes ritualized.  When a change is completed, celebrate with a party or some other ritualized recognition of the passing of a key milestone.  You can also start a change with a wake (which is a party that is held to celebrate the life of someone who has died) to symbolize letting go of the past.  Create new rituals to help shift the culture to a new form. Use these, if possible, to replace the rituals that already exist.
  7. Socializing Build your change into the social fabric. A change that is socialized becomes normal and the ‘way things are’.  When something becomes a social norm, people will be far more unlikely to oppose it as to do so is to oppose the group and its leaders. Seal changes by building them into the social structures.  Give social leaders prominent positions in the change. When they feel ownership for it, they will talk about it and sell it to others.

If you have other ideas for embedding change and making it successful, please share them here.
Wendy Mason is a career coach.  She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between coaching and writing. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

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Leading Change – People Matter

Leading Change – People Matter

This is not a new post but I thought it was worth re-posting because the message holds good for all time 

I’ve just seen an advert for a “change management lead” for a multi-national facilities management company – they provide everything from reception services to construction.  It asks for Prince2 (project management skills) and Six Sigma (improving the quality of process outputs) certification.  It mentions the enterprise management system used by the organisation and says the post-holder would be required to set up and document SLAs and define KPIs.  Sadly, beyond asking for the candidate to have strong interpersonal skills, the one thing it doesn’t mention is PEOPLE and leading people – this from a company in the heart of the services sector!

Makes you wonder doesn’t it?  If a services organisation doesn’t know enough about change to know that people, and the leadership of people, are at the heart of any change then we really do have a long way to go to spread the message! But something else strikes me as well!  If the applicant is required to lead change then this company doesn’t really know much about leadership either and that has much wider implications!

Wendy Mason is a career coach.  She helps people reach their goals and aspirations, without sacrificing their home and personal life.  Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between coaching and writing. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

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THE SIMPLEST MODEL OF CHANGE – LEWIN’S FREEZE PHASES

THE SIMPLEST MODEL OF CHANGE – LEWIN’S FREEZE PHASES

In the early 20th century, psychologist Kurt Lewin identified three stages of change that are still the basis of many approaches today.

Unfreeze

People like to feel safe, and in control,and their sense of identity is tied into their present environment; particularly if it has been relatively stable for a while!  This creates a feeling of comfort and any challenges to it, even those which may offer significant benefit, can cause discomfort. See why change hurts!

Talking about the future is rarely enough to move them from this ‘frozen’ state and significant work is usually required to ‘unfreeze’ them and get them moving.  In frustration some managers start using a Push method to get them moving – coercing them into a change.  This can create a lot of unhappiness and frustration.

The Pull method of leadership, persuasion and modeling behavior takes longer but has a better long-term effect . The term ‘change ready’ is often used to describe people who are “unfrozen” and ready to take the next step. Some people become ready for change fairly easily, whilst others take a long time to let go of their comfortable current realities.

Transition

For Lewin change is a journey.  This journey may not be that simple and the person may need to go through several stages of misunderstanding before they get to the other side.

A classic trap in change is for the leaders to spend months on their own personal journeys and then expect everyone else to cross the chasm in a single bound.

Transition takes time and needs leadership and support!   But sometimes  transition can also be a pleasant trap – it may feel better to travel hopefully than to arrive – particularly for the team leading the change.

Refreeze

At the other end of the journey, the final goal is to ‘refreeze’, putting down roots again and establishing the new place of stability – embedding new processes and developing a new culture.

In practice, refreezing may be a slow process as transitions seldom stop cleanly, but go more in fits and starts with a long tail of bits and pieces. There are good and bad things about this.

In modern organizations, this stage is often rather tentative as the next change may well be around the next corner. What is often encouraged, then, is more of a state of ‘slushiness’ where freezing is never really achieved (theoretically making the next unfreezing easier). The danger with this that many organizations have found is that people fall into a state of change shock, where they work at a low level of efficiency and effectiveness as they await the next change.

If  you are serious about being a better leader and doing your best in your career while having a good life at home, I think you will find our new programme interesting!   http://gettingtherewithwisewolf.com/

Wendy Mason is a career coach working mainly with managers and professionals who want to make that jump to senior level while maintaining a good work/life balance. Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between face to face coaching, and coaching and blogging on-line. You can contact Wendy at wendymason@wisewolfcoaching.com and find out more at http://wisewolfcoaching.com

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Leading Change – are we there yet?

We’ve all endured it, haven’t we!  The trip to see Granny seemed such a good idea.  But now the two kids in the back are really bored and all they want to know is – are we there yet?

Well sometimes, quite often in fact, when you are responsible for leading a change, you will hear the same refrain.  And sometimes, it will be from your Chief Executive.  Chief Executives usually like things done fast – they want their results and they want them now!  Well, of course they do. Usually that is what they get paid for!

But John Kotter, who we have been revisiting here recently, thinks that is why many change programmes fail.  They fail because the change is judged to be complete too early.

Real change, particularly whole organization change, takes a long time to complete properly.  Step Seven of Kotter’s eight stage process is about building on the changes you made with your quick wins, to make sure the whole vision is achieved.

You need to make sure that quick wins are recognised as only the beginning of what needs to be done.  This can be much easier if you have actually fleshed out your vision into a blueprint for the organization you wish to create.  Did you think through what the new business and operating models would look like?  Do you understand what information and support systems will be required? Is that blue print, that you so carefully produced, still appropriate.  In an ever changing world, does it need to be refreshed?

Even with the success you have achieved so far, you need to keep looking for improvements! Each success you achieve with your change programme provides an opportunity to build on what went right and to identify what you can improve. And you need to keep your audience, and particularly your Chief Executive, on board for the long haul with lots of good quality information.

What other things can you do now?

  • Build on the credibility you have established to win confidence in your long term solutions – make sure people see the links between what has been achieved so far and what is to come.
  • After every win, analyze what went right and what still needs improving. Be honest about the results and, if something didn’t go particularly well, show you own the problem and how you will make sure it doesn’t happen again.
  • Refresh your goals to make sure they build on the momentum you’ve achieved.
  • Learn about the idea of continuous improvement.
  • Keep ideas fresh by bringing in new change agents and leaders for your change coalition.
  • Refresh the team, if you need to – those good at start-up may not be who you need now.
  • While maintaining focus on the vision, re-invigorate your programme with some new projects and some new themes.

So it really is a bit like the journey to see Granny!  It helps if you have some new games, so that you can keep people engaged.  But of course at the end of the day you are still paying very close attention to the map to ensure you do get to your final destination.

I would love to hear about your experiences of change.  And if you think I can help you, please get in touch!

A Kotter Reading List for you;

Related articles

  • Leading Change and the virtue of patience (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Leading Change – dealing with fears and facing up to resistance(wisewolftalking.com)
  • Leading Change – get your vision into people’s minds and keep it there!(wisewolftalking.com)

Wendy Mason works as a personal and business coach, consultant and blogger. She has managed or advised on many different kinds of transition and she has worked with all kinds of people going through personal change. If you would like her help, email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439 or 

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Leading Change and the virtue of patience

Image of the glassharmonica, invented by Benja...
The glassharmonica invented by Benjamin Franklin
 “He that can have patience can have what he will.” Benjamin Franklin courtesy of Wally Bock  (who liked the earlier version of this). 
 

As some will know, I’ve been working my way through Kotter’s eight steps in change leadership again recently. Step Six is to create short-term wins.

Most of the post below was written a little time ago.  It was so well received that is doesn’t make sense to change it entirely but I have added a couple of further thoughts. 

Nothing motivates and gives people confidence more than success. Give your company and your team a taste of victory early in the change process. Within a short time frame (this could be a month or a year, depending on the type of change), you’ll want to have results that your top team and staff can see. Without this, critics, negative thinkers and cynics might hurt your progress.

Big bang changes are fraught with risk and danger; so it makes sense, if you can, to break your change down into manageable modules.  This gives you the opportunity to create short-term targets.  These then build up to your overall long-term goal rather than having just one long-term event. It means you get early benefits.

You want each smaller target to be achievable, with little room for failure, particularly the early ones. Your change team may have to work very hard to come up with these targets, but each “win” that you produce can further motivate and inspire the entire organization. Your early wins inpire confidence so that people are prepared to stay with you for the rest of the journey.

What you can do:

  • Look for sure-fire projects that you can implement relatively quickly and without help from any strong critics of the change.
  • Don’t choose early targets that are expensive. You want to be able to justify the investment in each project.
  • Choose achievements with tangible results that are easily understood and, if possible, bring benefits to many
  • Thoroughly analyze the potential pros and cons of your targets and make sure you really understand what is required. If you don’t succeed with an early goal, it can hurt your entire change initiative.
  • Reward the people who help you meet the targets.
  • Publicize what you have done – get out there and wave your flags

I’d welcome your thoughts on this and if you would like help in leading or managing your change, please get in touch.

A Kotter Reading List for you;

Wendy Mason works as a personal and business coach, consultant and blogger. She has managed or advised on many different kinds of transition and she has worked with all kinds of people going through personal change. If you would like her help, email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)2084610114 or ++44(0)7867681439 or 

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Leading Change – dealing with fears and facing up to resistance

Dangerous Risk Adrenaline Suicide by Fear of F...

Recently I’ve been writing about John Kotter’s eight stage process for leading and managing change.  Stage 5 is about empowering action, over coming resistance and getting rid of obstacles to change.

This is where your investment in Stages 1 to 4, begins to pay dividends.

Kotter himself states that when Stages 1 to 4 are skipped, resistance is inevitable and this can destroy your change.

People resist change because they fear loss.  They believe they are defending something they value which feels threatened.   This can include loss of security, power, resources and overall loss of control.  Most of us fear the unknown.

If you have followed the earlier Kotter steps when you reach this point, you will have been talking about your vision and building up buy-in from all levels of the organization. Hopefully, your group will want to get busy and be out there achieving the benefits that you’ve been promoting.

But there may still be some resisting the change!  There may be people (individuals or groups), processes, structures and even organizations that are getting in the way?

You not only need to put in place the structure for change, but check continually for barriers and blockers to it.

Removing obstacles can empower the people you need to execute your vision and it certainly helps them move the change move forward.

To remove obstacles you should

  • Identify, or hire, change leaders whose main roles are to deliver the change.
  • Look at your organizational structure, job descriptions and performance and compensation systems to ensure they’re in line with your vision.
  • Recognize and reward people for making change happen.
  • Identify people who are resisting the change and help them see what’s needed.
  • Take action quickly to remove barriers (human or otherwise).

To remove barriers of the human kind

  • Help them understand the logic behind the change.
  • Give them an opportunity to contribute – to help design and implement the change (e.g., ideas, task forces, committees).
  • Provide facilitation & coaching to help them adjust to the change.
  • Offer incentives to those who continue to resist change.

If all else fails, and this change is critical to the organization, use authority to get people to accept the change or to move sideways and, possibly, out.

This can be one of the most challenging stages for the Change Leader but – as I’ve written here many times before – no one told you change was going to be easy!

A Kotter Reading List for you;


Wendy Mason works as a personal and business coach, consultant and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you.  Email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439

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Leading Change – get your vision into people’s minds and keep it there!

shining light 2

I’ve written a lot here about the Kotter Model for leading change.  Recently I’ve been working my way through his various stages yet again because they always provide something new to think about. I’ve also written a lot about communication. Stage four of the Kotter process is about communicating your vision.

What you do with your vision after you create it and how you communicate it, will determine whether your change works, or not.

Your message is likely to have a lot of competition. It will probably have strong competition from other day-to-day communications within the company. As well as that, if your change is really significant you can expect the rumour mill to go to work spreading bad news. So you need to communicate your vision frequently and powerfully. You and your guiding team need to walk the talk and embed message in everything that you do.

Don’t just call special meetings to communicate your vision. Instead, talk about it every chance you get. The guiding team need to be visible and let people see you as the embodiment of the change you intend to make.

The top team should be using the vision daily to make decisions and solve problems. And so should all those who are actively engaged. Keep it fresh and on everyone’s minds,  then they will begin to remember it and respond to it.

What you do is far more important – and believable – than what you say.

Make sure the whole guiding team demonstrates the kind of behaviour that you want from others.

Make sure you

  1. Talk often about your vision to make it real.
  2. Be authentic – openly and honestly address peoples’ concerns and anxieties.
  3. Apply your vision to all aspects of operations – from training to performance reviews.
  4. Tie everything back to the vision. Lead and manage by example.

A Kotter Reading List for you;

Wendy Mason works as a personal and business coach, consultant and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you.  Email her at wendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439

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Leading Change – Announcing your change!

Transactional Model of Communication

For a significant organizational change, you should develop a communications plan.

It should cover;

  • What you wish to accomplish in communicating the change,
  • Your audience – how they are feeling, what they are expecting and how are they likely to react through the process,
  • Your key messages, strategy and tactics,
  • When you are going to communicate – your activity schedule,
  • How you will measure the results – how will you know that your message is getting across!

You can find guidance on preparing your plan at this link.

Prepare well for the announcement.  Be aware of your own feelings about the change. If you feel anxious take a little time out beforehand to relax – there is a simple breathing technique to help you at this link.

When you can, help your staff prepare for bad news.  But combine all of this with being scrupulously fair.  They will know if you play the favourites game or take the opportunity to pay off old scores when you are laying people off or reducing hours.  You will lose good will and that special contribution you need from those who stay.

In making your announcement, be as honest as you can and above all be fair.

Tell them the real position if you can, but also tell them what you are doing about it.  Tell them why the change is happening and what has led up to this point. Be as honest as you can about the risks but don’t threaten your organization with your honesty – it’s a fine judgment call.  Be careful of your language, don’t mislead them but limit your use of negative and emotive words.

You may not have all the answers at the beginning of the change.  Be honest about the gaps but be very clear about how you will go about filling them

Make sure they understand that you will keep them informed.

If they have a role, explain that role to them.  Involve them as much as you can in the change. How can they contribute?

Show confidence in their ability to get out of their comfort zone and do what has not been done before!  Challenge them to achieve something remarkable but don’t be unrealistic!

Make sure they leave the room knowing how they can ask questions after the event.

If you have a management team forearm them with as much briefing material as you can and make sure there is access to you for further information

Above all show how you are going to lead and support them through this change.  You are all in it together!

I would welcome your thoughts and hearing about your experiences.  I am very happy to answer your questions and advise you if I can.

  • Leading Change – bad advice and frightening people! (wisewolftalking.com)
  • Leading Change – knowing what a sense of urgency really means!(wisewolftalking.com)
  • LeaderBrief Q&A: Core Leadership Skills (linked2leadership.com)


Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her awendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)786768143

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Teddy Bears, Comfort Zones and Big Adventures

Winnie-The-Pooh

There is a wonderful illustration and I think it is in Winnie-the-Pooh!  It shows Christopher Robin disappearing off on another adventure hand in paw with his wonderful teddy bear!

Teddy bears are marvelous companions when you are off on a great adventure!

For children, alongside the other positive benefits of having security objects like teddy bears, is that they can help them adapt to new situations.  The stress of something new is eased by having something familiar and comforting!

For some adults too soft toys and comfort blankets help them deal with stress! Holding on to your cuddly toy can help you be brave enough to venture outside your comfort zone.

Comfort zones are the living, work and social environments that we have built for ourselves and become accustomed to. They can determine the type of friends we make, the people we associate with and the life style we accept or reject.

But staying in your comfort zone can mean that your life has a fence around it! Your life can become a self-fulfilling prophecy and you never venture out to grow and change.

To change to a different life style, establishing a business or succeeding at a challenging project,  you need to move out of your comfort  zone and into the unfamiliar.

If you want to change a group, you need to persuade them to move with you out their comfort zones into the great big and frightening world.  And not everyone will have their own Winnie-the-Pooh at home as a special friend to help them feel confident moving passed the gate. It can feel very risky!

So you, as the leader, have a lot of work to do.

You will need to make clear why your group cannot stay where they are!  They can no longer live within their existing comfort zone.

It is up to you to paint a picture of the future so strong they begin to imagine it for themselves.  You need to share a vision so meaningful, it is worth them venturing with you into the dark.

And you need to establish a bond of trust so strong that they can take the risk and move forward.

I would love to hear about your adventures out in that big, wide world.

As for me I lost my treasured teddy bear some years ago.  But luckily by then, just as good bears should,  he had taught me all he knew about managing without him!


Wendy Mason works as a consultant, business coach and blogger. Adept at problem solving, she is a great person to bring in when that one thing you thought was straightforward turns out not to be! If you have a problem talk to Wendy – she can help you – email her awendymason@wisewolfconsulting.com or ring ++44(0)7867681439

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Turn, turn, turn! Knowing when to leave

Dandelion clock

“Turn! Turn! Turn! To Everything There Is a Season (Book of Ecclesiastes via Pete Seeger and the Byrds)

All things change!

We all have special moments when we are truly happy. So happy in fact, that we want that moment to last forever.  We all have other moments that are so dark that time seems to stop – but it doesn’t.

One of the great lessons we learn is that time moves on and everything changes.

This is a true at work as much as in our private life.

We move into a new role or start a new project full of a mixture of excitement and trepidation.  We need to learn a new team as much as the technical elements of the work and the corporate culture.

We go through an adventure, reading the corporate map – which parts we can afford not to visit for a while and what others need urgent attention?

Just at the point when we think we know how it works we discover something staggering that we can’t afford to ignore.

The challenge is exciting.  There is work to do and people to lead who need our special skills and our particular vision.

Time moves on and the organization becomes our own!  But there are still challenges out there, new problems to solve and new horizons to look for.

Time moves on again.  We get to a point when we no longer need to look at the map, or even open our eyes, to know how to get where we want on that particular turf.

Nothing surprises us anymore and for us the task is complete.

What we are bringing now doesn’t have the same energy and excitement about it. We know the organization under our leadership is on the right track but we would rather think about things outside than inside it!

We feel we have stopped learning and we no longer inspire!

It is time to move on.  We know the organization needs something better and so do we!

So we plan our exit carefully as we would any project – we still care for this organization and its people.  We develop an exit strategy and we manage it.

We do all we can to help them find a  successor while we explore that opportunity that gave us such a buzz when we discussed it. We tie up the loose ends and move on.

We have done our best for the organization and ourselves.

Where as if you ignore the signs and hang around – oh dear!

You’ve seen them haven’t you – the Wednesday golf is far more important than the corporate vision!

Do you want to join them?

Then be prepared to turn, turn, turn and know when it is time to leave!

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