1.7 Behavior Change
And as we talk about the change, our thoughts and our feelings with others, if they are supported then we are now able to move forward and start to develop new actions toward our goal. From research, from trauma, from natural disasters, a earthquake in New Orleans, Katrina, and it destroys part of the city. Excitement, stress, frustration, anxiety, and we have supportive mentors or other people confidants and they say, that's very natural at this point in time.
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I hope you have had the opportunity to partake in other lessons in the Fundamentals of Management series. Today, we’re talking about change, organizational behavior and change, and how people respond to change. So let’s think about change. You think about a change initiative that you were involved in at a school, at a job with an organization, with a church, with a community, and how did that change go? Every quarter in my online class, I ask students to do a research paper on a change initiative that they are currently involved in and has been completed or near completion and I ask them to grade that change initiative. Was it successful? Are you satisfied? Do you fully understand what the goals of that change were? What your involvement in that change was? How you were communicated with and the results? Are you in favor and supporting that change? More often than not, I get papers with Ds and Fs, on a grade for their organizational change. That’s kind of sad, but not uncommon. So let’s look at what is going on with this change initiative and this change process. So first, we start with a goal, the desired state. What do we want to achieve, what do we want to accomplish with this change initiative? Go back to the drivers that I introduced in the first part of this lesson. These drivers require that we change. So what’s the goal? What’s the strategic plan? So if a company were to hire me or ask my advice on a change or how do we do that, then I would say, well think of it as an equation. And there are two parts to the change equation. The first part is the intangible part. All of the things, the software, the hardware and the new programs, the new desks, the new furniture, the new applications, the new business cards. Everything that is tangible, that has to be changed. And I recommend and that the company have a project manager, a champion for this part of the change. And I often get the response, not a problem, we will assign Susie as the project champion. And Jeff will be the project manager and he will put this on Microsoft Project, and we will have weekly meetings to track the status of all these things and where are we at to be able to deliver on time. And I say, that’s great, that’s awesome. How about the next part when they look at each other and say what’s the next part? That’s like really, all there is. And I say no, who’s going to be the champion to make sure the people are fully engaged in the change process, the people are communicated with? That there’s town hall meetings, that someone is available to answer all the questions, particularly after we launch the change. How about users of the change and result, are they going to be in the up front planning process of this change initiative? Each of these parts of the equation, in my opinion and I would not take a client who thought differently, but each part of this equation needs to be managed with different people with the same degree of intensity and reporting up on both parts of the equation. Are people involved in the change process? Change gurus Peter Senge, John Kotter the likes, most change experts, most change authors and those people involved in this discipline say that some 50% to two-thirds of change initiatives. Do not achieve desired results because the people were not as equally paid attention to as the things. That’s a huge number. 50% to two-thirds of initiatives do not achieve desired results. Because the people were not paid attention to equally as you pay attention to the things on the chart. That’s kind of scary, so let’s talk about that. So first, change. All change starts with new thoughts, without new thoughts there’s no reason to change. So we have these thoughts and we believe them, we say those make sense and we start to feel something different, excited, confusion. All of these feelings are natural and part of the change process. And as we talk about the change, our thoughts and our feelings with others, if they are supported then we are now able to move forward and start to develop new actions toward our goal. If those actions are then supported and they are validated, then we can move forward to the desired change. If at some point in time, we lose support, we lose the intensity of the feelings or the actions then this change process will fall apart and not work. Here is a model that I developed many years ago. On the left side, you see the old path current way of thinking. On the right side, you see the new path. And the starting point is there at the center bottom, you see a star and it says current thinking. Well that’s our starting point and then we have this inclusion or this infusion of new thoughts from a lot of different places. Brainstorming, from group thinking, from crisis. An oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. We have to think differently about how do we supply and have redundancy in our operations. From research, from trauma, from natural disasters, a earthquake in New Orleans, Katrina, and it destroys part of the city. We have to think differently about how do we do things. I had a client In New Orleans that had 100% of their product stored in a warehouse that was blown away and flooded. They lost 100% of their product. The company, it took the company nine months to recover in order to be back on a path of regaining their market share. Huge, a huge introduction of new ways of thinking. Of course, they’re not going to do that again, but new thoughts. So we internalize those new thoughts. We internalize them and say yes, I believe them, I am going to do something about them, and they are supported with new feelings. Excitement, stress, frustration, anxiety, and we have supportive mentors or other people confidants and they say, that’s very natural at this point in time. We move on then to new actions, and those actions are supported. And people are saying, awesome job, that’s what we need to do. And those actions if supported, if validated continue to move us in the direction of the desired change. Often times however, and this is where the change experts say, it falls apart. Those actions are not supported long enough for those actions to become part of the culture and the way we do things. When that happens the change is diverted, abandoned, maybe we have a different solution, a different result, not what we wanted, not the desired state, but a hybrid between what we had before and the desired state.
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