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Monday, March 05, 2007

Top Strategies for Embracing Change

Management Issues raises a post on the "Top Strategies for Embracing Change."

Their assertions?

  1. Today's rapidly changing technology has forced almost all of us to change, in some cases almost daily.
  2. Change is so difficult and is almost always resisted.
  3. The organization must create an environment that fosters new learning and behaviors - that "persuades" employees to change.

Below are their suggestions for embracing change. (I've indicated Six Disciplines' approach to each suggestion. You'll notice they align quite well.)

Motivation is essential. Before your employees are really motivated to work at change, they must be convinced of the personal and professional benefits to themselves, as well as to their organization. (At Six Disciplines, we cover this as part of Discipline II, Set Goals That Lead, in the Engage The Team process.)

Procedural and cultural changes require working with the latest tools of persuasion, negotiation and learning. Managers should coach and encourage rather than criticize or punish. Self-righteous, critical or condescending behavior will only frighten people back into their old tried-and-true behaviors. (At Six Disciplines Leadership Centers, our certified coaches work with individuals from all levels to explain how the change process works to their benefit, to break down old habits, and replace them with new habits and cultural changes.)

It pays to reward success. By rewarding success, you will create internal champions. Others will follow them more easily. (At Six Disciplines, we encourage our clients to include both recognition (unpaid) and reward (paid) as components to effective change.)

Promote changes with workshops. People respond better to workshop exercises that have "face validity" - that is, whose content is related to the work people actually perform. The workshop should combine process and content. (At Six Disciplines, we use workshops at all levels of the organization, to get total organizational engagement.)

Launch the change management program. While smaller companies might be able to just dig in and start the process, in larger organizations it may be necessary to create some drama. Involve everyone (At Six Disciplines, we refer to this as "engage the team.")

Alignment is necessary. Too often, alignment behind a company's goals, objectives, values and beliefs is taken for granted. (At Six Disciplines, that's what Discipline III. Align Systems is all about.)

BOTTOMLINE: "When all is said and done, change can be exciting, and if managed correctly, it will be a vital component in the vitality and continued growth of your organization. So go for it!"

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