Leading and managing change
In addition to the chapter about change in the book, here are some more ideas and reflections/actions to consider when it comes to not just managing change but leading change in your team.
COMMUNICATE the CHANGE CURVE
Help people understand the predictable stages you always go through in times of change. Give people the solutions to the 4 stages of the change curve.
Phase 1 – The Denial/Resistance Phase – When people are in the denial phase you need to communicate but don’t give them too much at this point, not too much to soon. Give them enough information but don’t overwhelm them. They need little and often. Make sure people know where to go for answers. Make sure you are available to answer questions to help them move through the change curve and into the next quadrant
Phase 2 – The Emotional Phase – During this phase the fear, anger, resentment, uncertainty start to come into play. They may need to vent their anger and share how they feel. In carefully planning this phase you need to have thought through the obstacles people will bring up and the objections. Also really think about the impact the change has. Be ready to listen and allow people to talk about what they are experiencing. If this is not managed effectively it can send you into chaos. Be prepared
Phase 3 – Acceptance – The team members are now moving towards the change and are ready to explore what it means for them. Also they are considering how they can start to make it work. Be ready with any training and support here. Also give them experiences of what the change will bring and what it will be like. Talk and show them what it will be like in the change
Phase 4 – Commitment – The team members have come through the change and accepted it and it is now happening. Don’t forget at this point to celebrate success , ensure that you celebrate the achievements along the way . This will make it easier next time you want to implement change.
SLOW DOWN to SPEED UP change
Often when we are in a change situation, we rush ahead with the change because we want to make it happen quickly. We may even be ahead of the game as we have heard about the change before anyone else and therefore need to lead the change.
That’s when it’s actually time to SLOW DOWN. We need to take time and reflect before we jump ahead. We probably EXPECT everyone to be on the same page as us, ready to take on the change. But how can they be if they are just hearing about it for the first time themselves? So we always need to slow down and think, reflect and put ourselves in their shoes before we do anything else. This takes time. And by slowing down and taking the time to do it right, the change can actually go quicker (if we rush through it, we are more likely to meet resistance, which really slows everything down). Take the time, but don’t let it take too long – time is still of the essence.
Here are some actions to help you manage this now :-
- Think: How much time do you have for reflection and pausing? Force time into the calendar for thinking time. This allows you to slow down and reflect, putting things into perspective and making the next steps clearer for all concerned
- Put yourself in their shoes; what does this change look, sound and feel like to those hearing it for the first time?
- Take some time to ask people about how they are experiencing the change. Listen for their thoughts and feelings, concerns and interests – what’s important to them?
- Now you may need to rewind, explain more, make the links for people to help them get to the same point as you, or at least closer to where you are with your thinking in the change (it maybe obvious to you but not to others)
CHANGE LEADERSHIP versus CHANGE MANAGEMENT
Change Management is something we hear about all the time, yet the term we often want to use is Change Leadership. We all want to be lead through change as well as managed through change. Change leadership is about giving direction, setting the scene, giving the context, taking people on the journey with us. Management is different; it’s more of the execution – how we are moving in the right direction. It’s about keeping track, checking boxes, ensuring we are on the right route. We need both but in times of change, leadership comes first. How could we start managing something that hasn’t been given enough direction? We might end up anywhere! (and not necessarily where we wanted to be)
When it comes to change, review the words on this chart and tick the words that describe where you are and then using a different colour, mark where you need to be when dealing with change and communicating it (PDF for your use at the bottom of the page):
TIME LEADERSHIP IN TIMES OF CHANGE
We are all continuously doing more with less, or being expected to do more with less. Everyone we meet has the same challenge with time – not having enough of it! The news (or is it really news?) is that we are not going to be given more than 24 hours in a day so we must find a way of making those hours count. Many people complain of being “time poor”.
In times of change this perception is further exaggerated, so let’s get back to leading our selves and taking responsibility for our time leadership. We can lead ourselves in how we manage our time. We can take care of our time. We can care enough about the value we put on our time. Let’s ask ourselves: Do I really need to be doing that, could someone else help and support me? Do I really need to do it, is it critical for this to happen for us to be successful? How do I best spend my time? It’s about carefully choosing how best to spend our time, to have a real impact.
Take time to review your time chart right now; How are you spending your time?
Start a simple time and motion study and see where you are spending your time. In times of change this becomes particularly critical (PDF for your use at the bottom of the page):
Download the PDF here to start mapping out how you spend your time on Change Leadership and Change Management