1.9 Common Reactions to Change
So if we have 40% of the people on board in the proactive camp, if we have 50% on the fence, and we have 10% who are total distractors to the change initiative, where should you spend time? You're really involved with the fence-sitters because you want them having the change agents also work with them to bring them over to the proactive supporter side. And the jobs were posted for cell number one, machinists and operators and forklift drivers and technicians and data entry people.
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So, change agents. All of the change agents are there to help support and to help initiate and move the change forward, because people have varying degrees of reaction to change. People can be in one of three camps. They can be a supporter of the initiative. They can be proactive. They can be part of the solution. They can question. They can be a problem solver. They can get involved. And they can be an early adapter and get on the bus early and see, and portray themselves as someone who is on board. And quite frankly a model for other people to follow. Or you can be a resistor, a distractor. A distractor of the change initiative. You can be reacted, you can be negative, you can be pessimistic, you can be passive-aggressive, maybe and it happens even try to sabotage the change initiative or you can be a fence-sitter. This is where in the early days or early month part of a change initiatives, this is where the majority of the people live, on the fence. They’re non-committal. They don’t know which way to go. They’re waiting for clarification. They’re waiting for more answers. And they’re cautious, they’re wary, they don’t want to commit. Until they are sure. So if we have 40% of the people on board in the proactive camp, if we have 50% on the fence, and we have 10% who are total distractors to the change initiative, where should you spend time? Well you reinforce and validate that the proactives are there and you’re supporting them and they’re supporting the change. They’re the supportive group. You’re really involved with the fence-sitters because you want them having the change agents also work with them to bring them over to the proactive supporter side. And what do you do those distractors? Well, of course you’re there to answer the questions. Of course you’re there to try to make sure that they are, that you are available to them to give them time, so that they can vat, but quite frankly, in my experience, many of those distractors will go away. Let me leave you with a story about this change process. A real story. A client that I was working with, they asked me, they hired me to change their organization. From my very functional, old style organization to a very new style, lean, self-directed, self-motivated, self-guided, self-empowered team. So we had nine departments in the plan of 1,000 people, and we were going to create 25 new business units or sales. And these sales would be high performance. Process would be aligned to eliminate waste, eliminate the cycle time to shorten as much as possible the cycle time to get things moved and that people would be owners of their own work. They would do their own scheduling. They would do their own meetings. They would do their own problem solving, of course, after training. So the goal was to first, how are we going to make this transition from old to new? And, after much discussion, it was decided that attitude was more important than skill. And that we were going to have all of these people who wanted to be part of this new cellular structure to interview for, well, relatively their same job. They were a machinist before, they’re going to be a machinist in a new cell. So HR hired an organization to come in and help these employees, all of these employees, create a mini resume and prepare themselves to interview for their same job. And the jobs were posted for cell number one, machinists and operators and forklift drivers and technicians and data entry people. And they were brought into the interview, and TI was part of that interview process. And they were asked questions like, how do you feel about sharing your knowledge with teammates? How do you feel about continuously improving your own process? Taking that on as you responsibility. How about team meetings? How about being responsible for your own metrics for the performance of your cell? How about your bonus, your year end evaluation being dependent upon the interaction input from the other team members? And yes, I want to be part of that, that’s a new way of life, absolutely I want to be there. And then we had a group of people who said, I am the best machinist this company has ever had. You need me, you’ve got to hire me in to that department. But I am not going to play in to those silly team games. I am not going to participate, I am not going to share my knowledge. And they weren’t hired to be in that new cell and they had posted and they wanted to be interviewed for the second cell. And they gave the same answers. And they weren’t hired a second time, or a third time or a fourth time. And all of a sudden the 25 cells were filled up. And we had a group of some two dozen people, distracters who said you need me, you can’t let me go. I am the best, highest skilled, most competent machinist that you have ever had in this company. But I’m not going to play those games. And the company said, we have no place for you. Choice is yours, Supporter, early adopter, fence-sitter, or distractor. I, based upon a lot of years of experience, can tell you that organizations view supporters with a lot more Importance then they do distractors. I hope you choose the right course. And I hope you enjoyed this journey through organizational change and behavior. Thank you for participating.
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