Change Hurts

Are you ready for it? No really. Do you really want to change your company?

We all think we are and then we face the reality. Uncertainty, fear, then people start booking meeting rooms. Employees gather in small groups with no notepads. People start sucking up to individuals and chastising others quietly.

What do you think they are doing? They are talking about change and mostly forming untruths about what is not happening. That is what happens when change is poorly actioned, communicated or it’s not been planned and mobilised through people and teams.

But there is a need for this personal pain before we can accept change and move on. That initial fright and the feeling of being uncomfortable needs to be embraced and it’s a tricky skill to learn. People do react differently to this – some go quiet, some shout ‘WO HOO!’ but in most cases the emotions take over – anger, anxiety, disgust, shock are all relevant (and sometimes needed) but how people handle them and move on from each is fascinating. I hate the phrase ‘you’re either on the bus or off the bus’ – it’s overused it’s patronising and it segments people into the good and bad us and them.

How business transformation is managed is a skill and OD is a specialism that needs planning out with all of the eventualities carefully thought through. After all, most of business time is about how you manage change. You’re either planning or executing, developing or measuring, forming new ideas or tweaking your original ones. That itself is a skill and it takes time.

But the biggest question in starting a new change project is ‘Do you really want to manage the hurt?’ ‘Can you handle the pain?’. There will always be ramifications – you can’t change something without having a negative effect somewhere in the system or process.

Take a moment to think about how you felt when a piece of change affected you? How did you feel? It felt like the rug was being pulled from under you, right? Now think of when you were in charge of effecting change. What did you do well? What could you have thought of to improve how the change was received?

How did you manage it – emotionally and did you let it show physically?

Ambiguity reigns at the moment, so how we manage ourselves at work (and support others) is going to become a key skill in the leader’s toolkit.

This week we ran an HR Taskforce session on ‘Agile and Ready for Change?’ this looked at how we can develop these conversations and shift our styles quickly to help performance. Run jointly with Global Edge we looked at both organisational readiness (and propensity to change) and the readiness of the individual leader. All really useful info to help leaders to adapt to change. There’s lots of lovely stuff on their website to help address this.

Also we’ll be investigating this topic and many more on the future of work at Working Futures, 14th November for more information please contact: #WorkingFutures

  • Global Edge

    A state of readiness means being aware, confident and prepared to act dynamically