Change Overwhelm

How many of you want to drive change at your organization but then just get completely overwhelmed?

There is so much data these days, over 5,000 books on Amazon about change management, it’s all a little overwhelming. With today’s access to so much information the amount of time it takes to read, digest, and synthesize it all can lead to paralysis.

So, after you read a 29-page article on all the things leaders need to do to affect change and feel like it’s time to give up I want you to stop and remember 1 thing…  Treat others the way you want to be treated!

When it comes down to it, the answer is pretty simple! You don’t have to have all the answers or single handily speak to everyone in your organization. You need to think of people as people.

What is it they are afraid of? Address those concerns candidly and proactively.

What do they want? Giving the end users what they want will dramatically increase user adoption or acceptance of the change. ALERT: This is where your brain may have just went a million miles per minute with thoughts like: “They want more money which I can’t give them” or “They want a magic bullet and I don’t have it.”

It is exactly these thoughts and doubts that stop us before we even start. Most leaders won’t even ask their teams what they really want for fear of hearing the truth. Most of the time what really happens is they tell you what they think you want to hear. This is where communications break down and user adoption initiatives most frequently fail.

So, what can you do? Well let me ask you, how would you want to be treated?

See, you already know the answer.

And again, your brain probably came up with all the reasons you can’t! That’s ok- we just have to retrain your brain. The 1st step is recognizing you even did that! Did you realize in a nano-second you already put the brakes on?

Your brain instantaneously segments information and makes decisions based on prior or perceived predictions. Stopping and recognizing this superpower means you also have the power to consciously assess the accuracy of these thoughts and make different choices.

In my workshop one of the most powerful activities we do is we write down all our can’t statements and thoughts and in a column next to them define where that belief stems from. Doing this will open your eyes to the fact that many of these assumptions, while they may have been true in the past, no longer ring true today. This is because we and the organizations we are part of are always evolving. The brain works like a computer and only categorized and processes information based on the point in time it was stored. It then makes a calculated decision of the likely outcome but you are different now than you were when your brain stored the previous information or belief. You have tried new things, met different people, grown new cells, and are physically in a different location in time and space.  So, while there is certainty validity to how your brain predicts based on previous experience, you must consciously stop and assess the current state. When you are feeling stuck or notice yourself blaming others for why you can’t adopt a change, why users aren’t using the system, why your CRM system sucks, etc.… do the above exercise to find out what is really true.

If you take the risk to ask the users what they really want (not what they need), what is the worst that could happen? They will feel heard? You will have treated people the way you want to be treated?

Could the world use more of that?

Happy changing!

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  1. […] They want to measure the persons usage of the system (willingness), competence, the process (the users knowledge of the process), and the tool (is it configured properly). These are all intertwined, obviously, but to establish a good KPI you must segment each one and introduce them slowly to prevent change overwhelm. […]

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