There is a whole range of theories and models around change management. Each theory offers its own solution to sustainable change and many adopt a logical and sequential approach, which in many instances leads projects to fail or to be only partially successful.
Change isn’t logical and no one solution will suit every occasion. Change is complex, full of contradiction and paradox because it includes the business ecosystem. This is the organisational environment, people’s vision, values and beliefs about themselves, their organisation and the world in general. Organisations need to create a clear, realistic vision about what can be achieved through change and be honest about where support is required.
Ultimately organisations need to use creative approaches to change management and understand the conditions necessary for change. Building on the work research by Don Beck and Chris Cowan we can identify six key “musts” necessary for change to be successful:
- People will not change unless they appreciate a pressing need to do so
- People need to have the will ability and potential to make whatever changes are necessary
- People will need to have some idea about why there is a problem and what alternatives exist to do things differently
- People need to know how current problems can be resolved so they can move onto new challenges with confidence
- People need to know how to deal with resistance to change, resistance may be internal such as a personal fear of the unknown, or external such as a lack of promotional opportunities
- People need to be given support and consolidation so they can learn new skills in a relatively safe environment with plenty of encouragement
All effective change comes from within people. Leaders in organisations need to create the kind of environments which support people in change.
Change management is all about people, valuing individuality, positively managing people through the change process, communicating effectively in the language of the people and providing leadership.
Appreciating the value of individuality within the workplace is crucial to successful change. Managers need to be aware of how change affects different types of people, the roles each behavioural type will play and the support that each individual requires during the change process.
The Transition Curve as experienced by the four Jigsaw Behavioural Styles
Whilst there are many similarities in the way people experience the change process, it is important that managers know their people, and how they are likely to be affected by the change and how
they can be best supported to make sense of the change and be motivated towards the goal. The Jigsaw Discovery Behavioural framework informs managers so they can lead their people through the change process successfully.
So with people at the heart what do leaders need to know?
- Know the values and motivators of individual team members
- Create an atmosphere of trust, with open honest conversations in a safe environment
- Be creative – work out if and how each individual’s motives can be satisfied within the work environment
- Create an environment for positive beliefs by creating certainty and focusing on the short term
- Communicate on a regular basis even when there is nothing new to say
- Provide a range of appropriate support networks and coaching to help motivation, learning and growth
- Enable autonomy by asking questions to generate insights rather than providing people with the solution
Overall no one theory or model will offer the right solution to sustainable change. People should be at the heart of all change initiatives and an individual’s needs must be considered at every stage of the change process.