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Why company change administration typically fails (trace: it's not the individuals)

There are four key infrastructure components that need to be addressed for changes to take effect and be permanent.

August
27, 2020

5 min read

The opinions expressed by the entrepreneur's contributors are their own.

In the book Switch, Chip and Dan Heath argue that when it comes to lack of change, "What looks like a human problem is often a situational problem." This is the so-called "fundamental attribution error" in which we problem the intrinsic characteristics of one's personality Attributing to person if the environment really matters.

Geary Rummler, author of Improving Performance: How to Manage White Space in the Organizational Chart, said my favorite quote about scapegoats: "When you put good people against a broken system, the broken system wins almost every time."

Related: Why does it take a crisis for companies to change?

With all the changes in the world these days – and all the changes in the business world – corporate change management is a huge fad. The problem is that most corporate change managements are bad. Not because the concept is bad. But because it is almost always about the bad assumption that with every organizational change the people themselves have to be changed. This is wrong.

Saying "our people don't like change" is just a form of scapegoat when the change situation in a company is not properly addressed. If you really want changes in your business to succeed, the first thing to focus on is changing the environment to make them happen. Then deal with people's emotions.

Change the environment

A company's environment largely depends on its infrastructure. There are four key infrastructure components that need to be addressed for changes to take effect and be permanent.

Formal reporting structure / organizational chart. While this may seem extreme, you may need to redesign your organization to ensure that it has an official cross-functional alignment built in so that the org chart no longer hampers progress and change. The most important processes encompass almost all functions in an organization. However, very few companies structure themselves this way, although it helps a lot. Compensation / recognition. As Upton Sinclair said, "It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding." Even if people are excited about the change, if their compensation is not tied to them – or worse, if their compensation structure helps them do things the old way, they are unlikely to change . The same applies to recognition. Expectations / feedback. Set clear expectations of the change for all parties and regularly give people specific feedback on how they are doing. Make sure there are clear standards, processes, and SOPs that show how people should make the change. Tools / resources. Even if you have an adequate formal reporting structure; fully coordinated compensation and recognition; With strong mechanisms for setting expectations and providing relevant, helpful feedback, you must continue to ensure that people have the tools and resources they need to get their jobs done. Tools and resources depend heavily on the specific task and desired outcome. As you reorganize the way people work in the company, consider the tools and resources they need to do a great job. Ideally, learn from the top performers who are already successful. Regardless of the tools and resources they use, make sure everyone has them.

Dealing with people's emotions

The other problem with typical enterprise-style change management models is that they focus almost exclusively on the logical and rational elements associated with the change, such as: B. assigning stakeholders or creating a communication plan for each stakeholder to make them aware of the change.

Related: Your Brain Doesn't Want To Change: 5 Ways To Do It

Not that it's unnecessary. It's actually very important. And you definitely need a change management process for your business that includes those things. But these things are more project management. You're not really helping people make the change that much.

By focusing your change management efforts on dealing with people's emotions regarding the change and designing the work environment (not just the people) so that the change is possible, the change will take care of itself and with a lot be much more successful less pain.

One of the best ways to transform the emotional realm is to be open and honest about any concerns people have about the change – and all of the things that stand in their way. Realize that there is fear beneath all of this, and you need to fully understand what they fear.

It's a great idea to ask them directly, "What are your fears about this change?" Or "What exactly is it that makes you hesitant or not convinced of the change?" Then, listen to what they have to say and make sure you bring it up.

Related topics: Why changes don't happen and what to do about it

If you don't ask people directly, you will get helpful pointers about what people fear from the resistance they put up.

But by then it may be too late …

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