The role of structures & support
HOW TO USE STRUCTURES AND SUPPORT
FOR LASTING CHANGE
- Chapter 4 -
The finalise phase of change management is to provide structures and support. Structures and support will help you overcome ambiguity and the evils of the fundamental attribution error.
You'll need to provide bright lights to lead the way, engage influential people as exemplars, and kindly but firmly ask people to let go.
After many failed attempts, I realised that my gym buddies of similar size and strength were able get much heavier weights above their head. It amazed me.
Now, the proper way to lift is to not hold on to the bar so tight and not grip the bar so high into the lift. Instead you must sort of 'let go' of the bar and 'catch' it just as it starts to come down.
Once I did that I realised the bar had its own momentum, lifting much heavier weights became relatively easier.
The same is true in life. We need to let go to reach out. We need to stop holding on so tight.
We need to create the space so the new change can grow and become comfortable.
Use these three techniques to encourage people to move with the momentum of change:
You might need to pry people’s fingers away while they hold on for dear life, but once you do, you'll see them roll with the momentum of the future. Just don't mistake their shrieks for real resistance.
Force people to let go
A few years ago I started Crossfit as a way to get fit. Crossfit is a multi-disciplinary fitness method that has you Olympic lifting, doing gymnastics and high intensity aerobic training.
I became attracted to the Olympic lifting. While it seems simple, the idea of lifting a loaded bar from the ground and throw it over your head, is anything but.
I would grab the bar and lift with an almighty speed and sort of “muscle” the bar up, hoping it would not fall on my head. That worked at lower weights, but pretty soon I hit a plateau.
Provide them with as much clarity as you can to help deliver the message:
Outside of the middle leaders, also look for those informal leaders who by their expertise or tenure can provide leadership. Let these "point people" know they are instrumental in leading the change and will be fulfilling an important role.
People tend to respond well to informal leadership. If respected colleagues begin to display new behaviours others will soon adopt them too.
These same people are also they are likely to be subject matter experts and can help navigate the ambiguous zone. Thus avoiding problems otherwise lurking in the fog.
Clarify the specific steps that will be taken to make the change happen, and give people the information, skills and tools necessary for them to let go of the current ways of working and move, with confidence, to the new system.
If people know they positives, and negatives of the proposal and have a sense that you're being honest with them about them - as well as not deluded - they'll be more inclined to make intelligent decisions about they're involvement.
CONSIDER THESE POINTS:
Use bright lights
There must be clarity around the initial key steps required to make the change happen.
People don't need to understand the whole journey in detail, but they do need to have enough clarity on how it will begin.
It is the change managers job to shine a light into the dark so that people can see how they can move forward. This helps people understand expectations of them, and what they need to avoid.
THE FOLLOWING 6 STEPS ARE ESSENTIAL FOR EFFECTIVE IMPLEMENTATION:
Six steps to change
Having covered the philosophy of what works and what to look out for in change, now is the time to create a solid plan to execute.
While filled with ambiguity and potential mine fields, change shouldn't be random, uncontrolled. Effective change management means applying a structured approach. A structure will ensure successful outcomes that are in line with the intention of the vision.
To create focused change you need to intersection of these three points:
Leadership with enabling structures but no skills results in a good idea, but nothing to do.
Leadership with skills, but no structures results in confusion.
Skills and structures without leadership is a rudderless ship.
As change managers, you need to bring the three together to ensure focused and rapid change.
As a final message, remember this: changing the status quo is difficult. And while nothing happens until top leadership is engaged, the power and momentum is in the middle.
GET ON THE FRONT FOOT, ENGAGE THE FRONTLINE
AND INFORMAL LEADERSHIP THROUGHOUT THE ORGANISATION.
Change will then take on a power of its own.