Skip to main content

What’s Missing to Make Change Approachable?

Reading: What’s Missing to Make Change Approachable?

Mike Cottmeyer’s last blog, ‘Are People Really Afraid of Change?’, offers important questions for creating a successful transformation.  A transformation of any kind – whether personal or organizational. I am reminded that fear may or may not be at the root of resistance. Often, fear – resistance – edge behavior is precipitated or reinforced by the absence of fundamental change practices:

Lack of Information

  • Do I/we have enough information/content understanding about what we are changing?
  • How will it specifically help our organization?
  • How will we take a great idea and make it work in the context of our organization?
  • What is the overall plan and how will we adapt as we learn?

Lack of Alignment

  • What does safety mean to me as an individual or as an organization?
  • What is specifically needed to be willing to move forward?
  • Is the change in alignment with the organization strategy/goals?
  • Is the change what I want for my career?

Lack of Inclusion

  • How will we co-create the plan and execution?
  • How do we have honest conversations when we as individuals, or as teams, resist the change or adopt behaviors/expectations that hinder change?
  • What are the options if I/we want to opt-out?
My orientation of change is a holistic, systemic view of the processes, people, dreams and pathways of change that are developed in context with the organization’s current state and constraints and a plan to shift to their desired end-state. There are many change techniques (ADKAR, KOTTER, Management 3.0…) and agile/lean process frameworks (SAFe, LESS, DAD, Lean Startup…) that are each valuable and serve a specific context. Each should be respected and may offer varying degrees of value to a change initiative.

What’s important is to first understand the organization before applying a strategy or assuming that a standard strategy will be effective. Listening, not assuming, or believing that as a coach/consultant expert that you know where they need to go. Listening and facilitating in a way that actively fosters the organization, teams, leaders becoming self aware of where they really are, what they are really willing to change, and how fast they can sustain that change.

Even as leaders in our own particular techniques, that bring invaluable information and experience to guide the conversation, I find that resistance can quickly emerge when those being asked to change are not intimately involved in co-creating the change roadmap specific to their situation.

Going back Mike’s blog and ending question:

“How do we make it safe?”…

As a community we have strong perspectives on leading change through process or through culture. Both are needed. Understanding what is in the best interest of the organization under change is the first step to crafting a balanced transformation plan.

Creating safety through offering successful process frameworks that are aligned to the desired end-state is a great place to start. I challenge us to weave in ways to help all organizational levels become self-aware of ‘what is’, co-create the vision and process for change, and courageously address resistance or misalignment to the transformation plan as it emerges.

Transformation is a shifting landscape, and to make it approachable (maybe safe?), to me requires clarity, agreement and compassion/tenacity as we weave in and out of the reality of understanding what we signed up to change.

Next Selling Value and Creating Safety

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *