It’s Not About Change Management, It’s How You Talk about It.
As a change management motivational speaker, I have witnessed the rise and the wide-spread interest in a change management speaker. In fact, “Change Management” has become a modern-day buzzword.
But can an executive leader truly manage change? I think not. I know that may sound controversial, but I have plenty of experts who agree with me. A classic article that first appeared in the prestigious Harvard Business Review in the Nov-Dec 1993 issue was titled “Managing Change: The Art of Balancing”. In the piece, professor and business writer Jeanie Daniel Duck said:
“Change management is intensely personal. For change to occur in any organization, each individual must think, feel, or do something different. Even in large organizations, which depend on thousands of employees understanding company strategies well enough to translate them into appropriate actions, leaders must win their followers one by one.”
In talking to groups about managing change, I emphasize that it’s not about the change, it’s how the company communicates that change with each individual. We all process differently, but most employees are reasonable human beings. From my broad experience as an executive in organizations that have undergone change as well as speaking to groups on change management, I have learned that people don’t resist change, they resist forced change.
Who doesn’t look for answers? Who doesn’t ask: “Why must I change? Why can’t things go back to ‘normal?’ Why is this happening to me?”
Somebody Talk to Me
It must come down to the communication negotiation. Change management is ultimately a friendly negotiation between management and those working for the organization. It is a buy-in, a vision as to how we are all going to succeed. In short, it is critical to sell the change.
If we think back to major changes that have occurred in the American workplace over the last decade, every one of them has relied on a successful communication of ideas. Whether the merger between two airlines, one banking institution taking over another, or the acceptance of a new technology, change has managed to occur because the change was fully communicated.
On the other hand, we have all witnessed the results of what happens when change has been forced and incompletely communicated. Quite often, organizations that have forced acceptance of a change are met with hostility, turnover, accusations and noncompliance.
Employees want to know the “why” of things so opinions can be personally adopted and then mutually accepted. It is impossible, for example, for a worldwide airline with 70,000 employees to be forced into an acceptance of a merger. It is, in fact, a mutual negotiation, where the CEO and the cabin cleaner ultimately agree to give it a chance and make it work.
On the other hand, if there is a concerted effort to regularly update and explain why a merger is necessary and ultimately beneficial, then the acceptance of that change is far easier.
As a change management speaker, I stress that managing change is an “us” proposition. Communication includes all of us. If we all work together, no matter the change challenge, we will succeed.
To book Mike Hourigan, Change Management Speaker, for a virtual or in-person presentation to your organization, contact Mike today at (704) 875-3030 or fill out the form below.