• Change is done BY people, not TO people

    When we start thinking about creating change, the conversation is invariably about how people need to change the way they work, think and behave… and most times the conversation assumes that we’re going to help to change them…

    But when we think about change management, we think about creating an opportunity for everyone to explore, decide and develop how they need to change themselves… rather than hear how someone else thinks they ought to change.

    All the changes we imagine happening in an organisation (save the ones that we personally deliver) are already owned by someone and their understanding, appetite and engagement is what we need in order for them to go about changing.

    So we see change management as a social process, of enabling people to see the changes that they can make… which cumulatively will add up to an organisational change… rather than a project process where people are told what they need to do and forced to do it…

    No one can make us learn a new skill, build a new strength or feel a different way, and while leaders can inspire people to want to change, the change is still the individuals to deliver and realise. Involvement is at the heart of the way we create change, so that change is done by people, not to them.

  • We don’t resist change, we resist BEING changed

    We don’t resist change, we resist BEING changed.

    I’m pretty sure that being contrary is a very strong human driver… perhaps third in line after survival and procreation is the urge to disagree. We are built to be skeptical, to question and to look for alternative explanations.

    When we are creating change in an organisation it is so easy to accidentally trigger this contrary response within our colleagues, and to characterise that resistance as destructive, obstructive and personally targeted. It’s normally positively motivated, insightful and likely to have some core truths in it that might save our change… and ensure it works.

    We put involvement at the heart of our organisation development work for this reason. People have to own the changes that are needed in their organisation and they normally have the greatest insight about what those changes are – once we remember to ask them and get them involved.

    When I hear clients talk about the fact that people in their organisation don’t like change, I often think about how much novelty, innovation and change those same people are making throughout their lives outside of work… and once we’re looking at them from that perspective, we can start to identify and dismantle the barriers to change that we have created within the workplace.

  • It’s not the trees waving that causes the wind to blow

    It’s not the trees waving that causes the wind to blow… and it’s really important to know the difference… what has a causal effect on which…

    I often notice that people focus on behaviour when they might spend more time thinking about conditions, culture and support. When staff in a theatre aren’t always that welcoming to patrons, could it really be that they don’t know how to smile? Perhaps it’s more likely that they are frustrated and uncomfortable about some things that are happening in their environment that are more present to them that the ticket buyer in front of them.

    It’s important to know what is a result of our actions and what is a cause of them… and as leaders whether we are a tree that is being blown out of shape, or the wind that is creating the deformity.