Stuck in the Same-Old-This-and-That Rut? Make a Change – Part 2

Benjamin Franklin could have added a third entry to his “certain things in life” list. Besides death and taxes, he very well could have included the phenomenon of change because that is certainly a certainty that we all face in life and business.

Knowing the “why” and “what” of change (discussed in Part 1 of this series) is necessary and beneficial when you identify an area where change is needed in your company. But it’s ultimately frustrating and discouraging if you don’t possess more pieces to the change puzzle. Engaging people who are affected and instrumental in the resolution of the change and adopting a well-thought-out and appropriate change process are two additional essential elements in order to transition from an awareness to a resolution of your change needs.

The Who: ENGAGE the key people most affected by the change.

Reality check time: The people who are implementing and being affected by a new policy or process are almost never as excited as the ones proposing it. In fact, I can assure you they won’t be until you clearly communicate the details of the proposed change and explain to all involved the reasons for them. Most people just don’t like change; thy prefer continuity and predictability. And when you ask them to alter their thinking and routine, they are likely to resist, question, and push back, regardless of the scope or reason for the change.

That’s why it’s crucial to engage people at every stage of any significant change. Letting those who will be involved know the what, when, and why as soon as possible and getting feedback from the start helps create buy-in and gets vital insights from people who do the work and are most affected by the changes. The more and deeper you involve them, the more they’ll understand the reasons for the changes and how they affects them and the company as a whole.

Transparency, engagement, and involvement turn resistance and pushback into cooperation, acceptance, and ownership.

The How: PINPOINT the means and methods of your change.

 The notorious Chicago crime boss Al Capone was quoted as saying, “You can get further with a kind word and a gun than just with a kind word.” Translation: unless you’re packing some punch behind your proposed change—a plan behind your proposal—it’s all just talk. Those who really want change know that recognition and desire for change aren’t enough. There needs to be a well-conceived, well-equipped, and well-manned approach behind any change.

Sometimes your change will require an elaborate plan with many layers. Other times the road to change is less intricate and involved. The situation and immediacy will determine the extensiveness and structure. Having a timetable of when to launch your changes as well as key milestones and completion dates will help you stay focused and on course. Identifying the key leaders and facilitators is also key. Small and large as well as immediate and long-term goals throughout the process will give you the motivation to keep moving toward the results you want.

The areas of “why,” “what,” “who,” and “how” identify the motivation, focus, manpower, and methods of change. Thinking of these steps in sequence and as a progressive process will help you build momentum and crystallize your thoughts. If you first know the “why,” you have the motivation to discover the “what”, which leads to the people involved—the “who,” which aggregately give you the resources, genius, and manpower to affect the change you need.

Change is rarely easy. It’s often costly. It can be time consuming. And it’s often met by resistance from within and outside your organization. But it’s essential for growth and progress in a world that’s changed a little bit more since you began reading this blog.

Besides, the ship of business is filled with endless possible relationships and opportunities and unless you move around from deck to deck, try a different venue or activity every once in a while, and attempt to meet more and varied people along the way, you’ll just be seeing the same sights, doing the same things, and talking to the same people. And that’s the definition of being in a rut.

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