Change is happening all around us.
It’s no secret that we live in a fast-changing, global world. The generational shift is happening even as we speak, we’re adjusting to differing economic climates, and styles of communication are evolving as rapidly as ever. The rate of change outside in the world is fast and only compounded by the rate of change that many teams and organizations feel inside their walls.
Therefore, change management is important, but I think the phrase Leading Through Change is even stronger. We don’t want to just manage the change, we want to lead ourselves and others through times of change in compelling and life-giving ways. We must learn to adapt our thinking, align people, and respond with engaging actions. It requires a mindset of preserving the core of what we’ve always done well and stimulating progress at the very same time.
Whether they realize it or not, every team and organization in the world are trying to manage change right now. Some are leading through change and others are oblivious, reluctant, or unable to see things changing. Many organizations are investing heavily in change management processes and programs to varying levels of effectiveness. There are tremendous resources and people out there to assist, guide, and support these efforts, but still they don’t always work.
So, Why & When Do Most Change Management Efforts Fail? Well, many reasons, but here are a few:
- “We Don’t Have The Time” — many groups are moving so quickly and are so close to their work that they can’t see the forest because of the trees that are right in front of them. They don’t invest the time to see things from new perspectives and chart a new course. So, they just keep repeating the same patterns.
- “We Know Point Z, But Forgot About Point A” — it’s energizing to dream and brainstorm about Point Z, the longer-term change that we want to take place, the desired future that we have. But, in the exuberant process of visioning for the future, many teams forget to assess and be completely honest about where Point A actually is. We have to know where we are on the map to take the first step.
- “The Honeymoon Is Over” — leading change is not a drive-thru experience. It takes a commitment of time, focus, determination, and discipline. Many change initiatives fail because the leadership team begins to lose interest after the honeymoon period when everyone was excited. They jump to the next shiny object and then are surprised when the change process stalls.
- “The Telephone Game Takes Over” — communication is critical. Shocker, I know. However, many change processes forget to communicate consistent and clear messages about the successes along the journey, where they are in the process, and what needs their attention next. When good communication is lacking, the game of telephone takes over throughout the organization and rumors, misinformation, and assumptions are passed between people and can stymy healthy progress.
- “Wait, I Gotta Lead?” — some organization’s forget that it isn’t just about the process and the plan, but it does require personal ownership and leadership to carry out the plan. The teams and organizations that do it best know that they need to invest in their own development as leaders throughout the process so that they can assure that they are aligned, communicating consistently, and engaged in the process of leading change.
Change is inevitable, but our mindset and approach to change determines how challenging the path will be. There are never silver-bullet solutions that fix everything immediately, but the most effective are committed to a journey, together. We lead clients through our 6 A Model For Leading Change in order to provide leadership and support to engaging the minds and hearts of their people along the way.
Good luck on the next leg of your journey!
Jason Barger is a globally celebrated author, keynote speaker, and leadership consultant. More importantly, he’s striving to be an above average father, husband, and friend.
Follow on Twitter @JasonVBarger and learn more at JasonVBarger.com
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