Category Archives: Change Management

Spending goodwill

If you can avoid it, don’t wait until the circumstances demand perfection to try out a new approach, to give staff new roles or to change the system.

When the pressure’s on you need to have confidence on your people, your processes and your systems.  If there are any weaknesses you will be found out.

Choose the time to introduce change carefully.  Be open about the fact that you’re trying something new, and that you’re taking a risk.  Seek feedback and be willing to introduce refinements.  Most importantly, allow people to choose if they participate and reward the willing.

Under the right circumstances people are happy to participate in trials and are generally sympathetic; they recognise things can go wrong and are forgiving.  However, they are not stupid, and will take offense at unwittingly being treated as guinea pigs.

How much goodwill do you have to play with?

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A picture tells a thousand words

A picture tells a thousand words, but an icon endures. If you get the picture right, a simple diagram illustrating a key message, that message will come alive.

Moving beyond recollection, the icon becomes part of every-day language, a regularly visited reference point for discussions and decision making.

When you’re trying to deliver change too many visual models can create confusion, but if you can produce an iconic diagram to support your goals you’ll have taken a big step in the right direction.

Build loyalty with consistency

Do you reward your best customers with consistency?  Do you allow them to become familiar with your interactions, to develop comfort with your style, to feel part of the system, at home?

Your customers appreciate your processes more than you think; they know what’s coming and feel at ease.  The more regular the customer, the bigger their advantage and the feeling of superiority.

Think carefully before you introduce change.  It will erode familiarity and create a barrier to customer loyalty.

People want to feel part of something, to be on the inside.  Make it easy for them, be consistent.

Change is exciting!

Change is exciting! It’s new, and shiny.  It opens a world of opportunity; a chance to start afresh… to change the rules… to get ahead.

However, it doesn’t come without costs.  It takes effort and persistence.  It’s risky.  Exhausting.

At the end of a long day, when we’re tired and hungry, its familiarity we seek.  Familiar smells and feelings, sounds and faces, tastes and voices, safe and secure… routine.

Change is exciting… but we can only change so fast.

Background noise

Background noise:  It’s always there, accompanying your every action, a constant distraction. Initially so prominent, in time it drifts out of focus, a subconscious reminder of your surroundings.

Part of the fabric, after a while it is only noticeable when it’s absent. When it’s not there something’s missing, creating a void, silence.

It’s amazing what we can get used to, how we adjust to our environment, become comfortable with intrusions, concentrate through distractions.

What impact does the background noise have on your performance? How would its absence affect you? If you can hear it again you might be able to protect yourself from it. Try it, the results could be surprising!

The Fixers

Some people are experts at fixing things.  They make careers from addressing issues, from working their relationships to mend broken situations.

In a crisis they are indispensable.  They bring together different factions and bridge the gaps to cobble together complex solutions. The situation is saved… until something breaks… another crisis. Call the Fixers!

Most Fixers need a crisis to thrive.  Their ability to establish or maintain stable operations is often limited, not a core competence.  Day to day business is too mundane to hold their attention.  Lack of attention creates instability, creating crisis, resulting in chaos.

Some organisations seem to be broken.  It doesn’t necessarily mean people are unhappy; it’s just the way it is.  Just because it feels broken to us, doesn’t mean everyone feels the same way.

Before trying to find permanent solutions, to build something stable and sustainable, consider why things are as they are.  Is the organisation ready?  Does it really want what you have to offer?

Let go, move forward

To take performance to the next level, it’s sometimes necessary to shake things up and bring in new blood. Your team may be more than capable, the business may have been going well, you’re running a successful operation, but to take it to the next level something different is required.

You carefully select people with the right experience, attitude and approach. They bring new perspectives, energy and ideas. Complimentary capabilities create synergies, one plus one is more than two. The ingredients for future success are in place.

However, for the expanded team to work you need to step back, to let go. Let the new dynamics take shape. Give the team space to form. Allow the newcomers to exert their influence, to make an impact, to prove themselves.

Think about what they are looking for; reasons they trusted you with the next stage of their career; independence, experience, opportunity, exposure, growth. You brought them in for a reason, let them prove you right.

It’s your responsibility, your baby, but ultimately the best way of achieving long term success is to share the burden. Enjoy the benefits of the younger, smarter, hungrier members of the team. In the process, play your role; nurture, advise, reward, listen.

Let go, move forward.