Managing Change

While we like to consider ourselves adaptable to change and versatile to deal with it, in reality, it scares most people. Why? Well, because we fear that we might lose what is associated with that change.  Even when we know that we will benefit from the change (such as giving up smoking or exercising more), we resist.  In my experience, one of the main reasons is procrastination and being in your comfort zone. 

Now, I believe change is a good thing because it is necessary in life to keep us thinking, developing, and involved. If we think about life without change, it would be fixed with the same routine every day, with the same people and the same work. From my own work experience, people do not resist change, they resist changing themselves. For those of you who swim, remember the first time you got into the pool or sea? It was scary and you probably doubted whether you would ever be able to make it to the other side. Change and an open mind got you to the other side. So, my message to you out there…embrace change and keep an open mind.  Here is a model I follow which can support you to succeed with change. 

The PADACK Model

P – patience. Have the patience to see the change through and not be in too much of a hurry.  Change takes time and there can sometimes be delays.

A – agile. During the change, you may have to move offices, work with different teams. Adopt an agile mindset and make sure you do not become the ‘bottleneck’ in the change management process.

D – determined. Be determined to believe in the change.  If the initiative has come from the top, there may be little you can do to change it so embrace the change.

A – assertive. If you need to know something, assert yourself and ask the right questions to the right people.  If you are in a meeting and know that something may or may not work, be assertive and speak up.

C – Competent. You must believe in yourself and have the competence for change and that you will come out from the other side. This may also mean that you have to change some of your habits and review your network to make sure the people you hang around with also believe in the change.

K – Knowledge. Take the initiative to gain the necessary knowledge required to make the change successful. If the change requires you to have another competency, search online to gain the necessary knowledge needed to succeed.

If you are managing the change initiative, here are 5 tips that may help you.

  • Take the time to ‘talk with’ your colleagues rather than ‘talk at’ them. It makes a difference and they feel more involved in any change you want to introduce.

  • Changing corporate culture ultimately requires a change in the employee’ attitudes.  Changing attitudes is about eliminating unproductive habits or work practices that do not add value to the individual or the organisation.

  • When you have a mountain to climb, you need to break the task into a series of more modest steps, all on the path to the ultimate goal. This will reduce anxiety and create a clear direction for success.

  • Breakdown any ‘mafia’ groups within the organisation.  These groups create an environment where sharing and collaborating for anything other than the ‘mafia’s’ special interests is virtually impossible.

  • Change is unsettling because it brings with it an element of uncertainty. Communicate what you want to change and how you want it to change. This will prevent unnecessary gossip and assumptions.

Always remember that each manager looks at a change initiative from his or her viewpoint and, based on personal experience, focuses on different success factors.  As a manager we need to accept that employees’ emotions are where the momentum for real transformation ultimately lies. Get their ‘buy-in’

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