There is a whole lot of talk about change in our society. Everyone wants change, talks about change, and there are lots of plans and systems that promise change but yet I don’t see a lot of people taking action. People know what they need to do in order to get users to adopt their new CRM system, grow their business, lose weight, or even change laws that are unjust but most change initiatives fail.
There are a few foundational components I believe will exponentially increase the likelyhood of positive change for you or your organization.
1. A well thought out and communicated plan.
I come from a project management background so I believe a well thought out plan is vital to any change. Everything in this world that has been created first started as an idea or vision in someone’s mind but in order for that vision to become a reality it has to be written down and shared with others if it is to be execute upon. Most companies are pretty good about this. Individuals trying to change tend to skip this part. They might say something like, I am going to eat less sugar but very few write out a meal plan for the week to set them up proactively for success. So if you haven’t created a change plan yet, start there. Document what the change will entail and the WHY! Write out step by step what you will do and when. This next step is where most people miss the boat: communicate, communicate, communicate the plan. Plans are only as effective as the ability for everyday people to repeat them back to you. If the people don’t know uour plans. If they have not adopted them as their own you won’t have change until you fix that.
There are a number of reasons we don’t communicate our change plans:
a. We don’t trust we will actually follow the plan. We’ve made so many plans and not followed through in the past that when we come up with a plan we hedge our bets and keep our plans to ourself or only share with a trusted few.
b. We are afraid others will rip our plan apart or won’t support it. If you are worried about what others will think then the plan probably wasn’t developed with the input of the right people. The only people opinions that matter are the people you will be asking to follow the plan. If you didn’t involve them in the development of the plan it is possible, actually likely, they will have some feedback for you. This isn’t a bad thing. Feedback helps the plan become more well rounded and more likely to accomplish the goal. So go ahead and share it, get feedback, and tweak it. This isn’t about being right it’s about getting the plan right!
c. We wrongly assume not one cares because they are too busy with their own stuff. People tend to want to help. Yes, if you are just emailing them saying here is the plan and they don’t feel like they can contribute or are an important part of the plan they won’t response but if you engage them, give them a call to action, and help them see how their role will make a difference in the lives of other, they will be willing to help!
All change involves people. That means we have to take change plan we created and later in empathy so we treat people like people. You can be nice and ask for people to change all you want but what you really need is a few action oriented organized people to lead the way.
Action oriented is more important than organized, but having both is even better. These are your change champions they are the ones that others in the organization follow or in individual changes these are your cheerleaders and accountability partners.
Think about the people who can help, who will hinder, where are they on the change curve, what motivates them? People will be what makes or breaks any initiative. Plan for them just alike you would plan activities. Plan for how you can exploit the positives and mitigate the risks when it comes to people.
People always want to jump to- how can I motivate others to do what I want?
When I say motivation, what I mean to say is that in order to drive change your motivation has to be others focused. The main motivator for any change cannot be so you get your way. This one is hard because you can’t fake caring. No matter how much you say this program is for your sales reps to be more productive, if you are using it to hold them accountable, then it’s more about what you need than what they need. Shift your perspective, serve them and then you won’t need a system for holding them accountable. They will do their job because they know you have their back and they want to make sure you continue to be around to serve them.
You will have to be willing to invest the time and money to make small incremental changes over time. These small daily wins add up to successful battles and eventually to defeating the wars of resistance. Neuroscience has shown little bursts of dopamine get released and encourage us to repeat these small wins but that means you have to do a little everyday which takes time, and as the saying goes; time is money. Not making the investment will inevitably lead to the system not being used or your desired change being over powered by the next shiny object. Change isn’t hard but it does take time. You’ve invested years doing things the way you are doing them today, give yourself and your team grace and space to adjust to change and your success will be much greater.
Sounds simple right? 4 things you have to have for positive change, do you think you’ve got what it takes?