How to Promote Change in Your Organization

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Change means giving up something. What are you willing to give up to move forward? Stop resisting change, even if it hurts. The way you look at a changing situation, or even a person who is changing, determines your reaction.

Think about the times you have changed in your personal life without the support of your friends or family. It hurt, right? But with or without them, you made the change happen. You knew it would work out, even though it was painful.

Consider the following reasons for resisting change:

  • Defend the old ways. 
  • Fear of the future. 
  • Uncertainty. 
  • Unexpected change.

Are any of these reasons holding you back, causing you to negatively affect a situation, yourself, or other people?

Four Phases of Change

The four phases of change are:

  • Denial: You deny the change is happening.
  • Anger: You become angry at the change.
  • Bargain: You bargain for the “old ways” instead of the change.
  • Tackle: You accept the change.

You may notice lower productivity in your own performance or from others, along with lower morale if you or they are in the denial, anger, or bargain phase. What is critical is how quickly you can adapt and bring quality and quantity above the pre-change level, before the denial phase.

Take the time to know yourself and how you manage change with steadfastness, practicality, and creativity. You are always in a position to make a difference. Control your attitude by monitoring your self-talk. Take some ownership of the changes by considering a central part of your job description to be personally responsible for managing change. Choose your battles carefully.

Upper management catches a lot of criticism during times of change. Now you have a chance to show your loyalty and commitment. If your organization waited until the change could be made perfectly, it would never happen.

You should practice good stress management techniques because adjusting to new circumstances is a drain on your psychological energy. Keeping your sense of humor is a step in the right direction, as is taking good care of yourself physically.

What about organizational change? “Organizations should reward risk-takers, even if they fall short once in a while. Let them know that promotions and glory go to innovators and pioneers, not to stand-patters who fear controversy and avoid trying to improve anything,” wrote Captain D. Michael Abrashoff in his book, It’s Your Ship.

Three Organizational Changes

There are three types of organizational changes:

  • Adaptive: You reintroduce a familiar practice.
  • Innovative: You introduce a new practice used elsewhere.
  • Revolutionary: You introduce a new practice that has never been used before.

Any one of these organizational changes should include vision, skills, incentives, resources, and action plans from beginning to end to identify specific goals, authority, control, and status. With this approach, an organization can address employee questions and reactions to avoid confusion and resistance.

Continuously communicate about changing roles, responsibilities, and expectations, and provide active, visible support to departments. Do not create a culture of fear of failure. Expect and learn from the mistakes, because they will happen.

After empowering employees, become less directive by stepping back and letting them perform. An organization should enforce changes through rewards and flexibility until the they become stable and permanent.

“The art of progress is to preserve order amid change and to preserve change amid order.”

- Alfred North Whitehead


This post was originally published on Wednesday, June 21, 2017 by the Association for Talent Development. You can read the original article here.