Turn change into improvement

If you want changes in your organisation to succeed,

you must make sure that employees find them safe and manageable.

This you can ensure by

  • taking the time to engage employees in the discussions and planning at an early stage - but in a way that they can be competent contributors

 

  • adjusting and / or establishing efficient processes that employees see the benefits using - including involving the employees
  • focusing on specific behaviour in daily work

 

  • motivating, adjusting, acknowledging and following up. It is far easier for your employees to relate to what they should actually be doing in the daily work, rather than big plans wherein they have difficulty seeing themselves.

Typical change pitfalls

Understanding

Managers are often among the most willing to change. They have deliberately sought changes in the course of their careers and thus have difficulty understanding that others may be less enthusiastic.

Time

When managers announce changes in their organisation, they have usually spent a substantial amount of time to discuss the impact and necessity with the board and management colleagues. But they extend their employees nowhere near that amount of time to take the changes in.

Context

Managers rarely establish the link between the changes and what they mean for the individual employee's daily tasks and ways of solving them. Employees are too often left to themselves and each other in a state of uncertainty and insecurity - and naturally they fall back on what they know and usually do.

Perspective

The managers often become so consumed with the changes that they forget that not everything is about the impending change. After all, the changes often constitute only a small part of the organisation's activities, and most of the daily tasks will remain the same in the change process.

 

The organisation is often much closer to the goal than rhetoric and perceptions make it seem. So keep perspective and common sense.

Delegation

The manager may have expected that line managers inform their employees about the consequences of the changes. But are the line managers properly equipped for this task? And do they have ample time to fix it properly when everyday challenges pile up?

It does not have to be hard

It is all about

  • maintaining perspective and common sense
  • having the right process
  • creating confidence
  • balancing expectations
  • involving
  • everyone knowing exactly what to do - and they are usually performing most tasks right already, so the goal might not be far away.

Resistance is in our DNA

Most of us are sceptical about change. We prefer to stay with what we know, do the things we know and do well. Therefore, many business leaders experience that it is very difficult to succeed with change in their organisations - and research has shown that it is not so surprising:

 

The Israeli-American researchers Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky studied for more than 30 years, how people make decisions - both large and small. They concluded that our brain works in two systems when we make decisions: system 1 and system 2

 

System 1 is the quick decisions that we make almost by reflex. Most of our decisions fall into this category: The immediate impressions, habits, perceptions, the everyday products we take form the supermarket shelf - and for example if we approve of the message that our director gives at the staff meeting.

In the latter case we should perhaps have enabled system 2 which is more thoughtful and consider details. But system 2 is cumbersome. System 2 requires more effort, and the only thing system 1 and 2 have in common is that they both prefer to avoid using too much effort. Our brain is short lazy.

 

Therefore, we often fall back on system 1 and make the quick decisions – e.g. that change is inconvenient, unsafe and confusing. This is something we do not like. So we try to fight change - maybe loudly or simply by keep doing as we have always done without thinking of the consequences.

 

We can quickly find 'good' reasons for avoiding change, because our system 1-decisions are all based on our past - what we know.

 

GalmstrupHviid Aps

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DK-2300 København S

tel.: +45 6126 6797 / +45 3027 6797

mail@gahv.dk