We’ve all heard that ‘change is the only constant’, but one reason change is so unrelenting is that we’re not very good at it.
All too often organisations forget about the human aspect of change and people fail to get behind change initiatives. It’s why 70% of organisational change fails, according to McKinsey. As leaders and managers, it therefore falls to us to ensure that our teams and organisations are prepared to navigate change.
But igniting action in others is easier said than done: People’s focus is likely to be their day-to-day priorities, as opposed to thinking about what’s around the corner.
If we want to successfully bring about change it’s critical we wake a sense of urgency in our people and help them to move from understanding to action.
The need for urgency
Creating a sense of urgency means alerting people across our organisations and teams that change must occur. It’s about sparking that initial motivation to get our change plan going.
Crucially though, urgency is not about generating panic and anxiety in our organisations. Rather, it’s about establishing a common goal and creating a spirited and engaged environment in which team members collaborate to embed new ways of working.
How to ignite and sustain change
There are a number of steps we can take to create a sense of urgency needed to bring our changed plan into fruition. Here are a few of them:
Spell out the consequences of inertia: While change and adaptability is vital for long-term survival, most people are hardwired to resist. And if they are unaware of the threats, embedding a meaningful transformation is all the more difficult. It’s vital we outline the impending risks to our people if we are to wake up their sense of urgency.
Map out the road ahead: Disruption to the norm is never easy to handle, but it can be deeply uncomfortable for some. If are to avoid denial and avoidance that the fear of the unknown will provoke we need to map out the road ahead. Providing a roadmap of manageable steps can help people break down a formidable problem and move forwards.
Encourage and support, don't nag: Checking-in can easily become a dreaded experience for people when change is challenging. Keep update sessions light and energised, and be sure to listen and respond to what’s going on for people.
Knowing how to successfully navigate change is a key skill for leaders and managers in the 21st century. With this in mind, our next Breakfast of Change, Human’s v Change, is designed to explore the drivers of effective change.
Come and join us to explore how to turn resistance into commitment.