Good ideas are not accepted easily
Have you tried getting superb ideas accepted in your organisation just to see matters dying on you? People nodded their heads, agreed and did very little or nothing afterwards.
ABPLAN urges you to closely heed the principles of leading change aimed at gaining the support of your team members and minimizing anxiety.
Leadership and management
The role of leadership needs to be emphasised. John P. Kotter of the Harvard Business School, maintains that "a successful transformation is 70 to 90 percent leadership and only 10 to 30 percent management." Without strong leaders who head the process and are part of a change coalition not much will come of an attempt to transform an organisation.
"Only leadership can blast through the many sources of corporate inertia." "Only leadership can motivate the actions needed to alter behavior in any significant way."
The role of emotions
Did you know that emotions play the dominant role, and not logic, in accepting change? Much has been published on the topic of managing change by Harvard Business School academics and others. We find John P. Kotter's approach and that of his co-author Dan Cohen, particularly useful. We urge our clients to heed and use their eight-step approach in launching strategy projects. In fact, use it when launching any major project.
People only accept change readily if new ideas appeal to their emotions. The authors place an emphasis on the first-mentioned see-feel-change formula (and we quote liberally) as departure point:
1. Help people see
Create compelling, eye-catching, dramatic situations to help others visualize problems, solutions or progress in solving complacency, strategy, empowerment, or other key problems.
2. Seeing something hits the emotions
Visualization provides useful ideas that hit people at a deeper level than surface thinking. Visualization evokes a visceral response that reduces emotions that block change and enhances those emotions that support it.
3. Emotionally-charged ideas change behaviour or reinforce changed behaviour
Have you not experienced this yourself? When you are exited about new possibilities are you not eager to get going?
Change rarely comes about through a sequences of events starting with analysis.
The usual less-effective pattern is:
1. Give people analysis
Information is gathered and analysed, reports are written, and presentations are made about problems, solutions, or progress in solving urgent problems, teamwork, communication, or slippage in momentum.
As a result:
2. Data and analysis influence how we think
The information and analysis change people's thinking. Ideas inconsistent with the needed change are dropped or modified.
3. New thoughts change behaviour or reinforce changed behaviour
While analysis and thinking is important, by itself it will not achieve much. If an issue is important, think deeply about presenting your ideas in a dramatic way that touches emotions.
Kotter and Cohen observe that a "good analysis rarely motivates people in a big way. It changes thought, but how often does it send people running out of the door to act in significantly new ways? And motivation is not a thinking word; it's a feeling word."
The first three steps
In introducing change, first create a sense of urgency; create a change coalition and then a clear vision of what has to be achieved. There are five more steps.
This approach is relevant whenever a major change is contemplated in terms of a major new strategy or when changing an organisation's culture e.g. because of a merger.
The eight steps become a reference point whenever a change process is initiated. These steps are also applicable to any of many sub-projects in support of the main transformation project. ABPLAN will take you through the process.
I suggest you next go to...execution of plans
Please go to for details about " The Heart of Change" by John P Kotter and Dan S Cohen, and "The Heart of Change Field Guide" by Dan S. Cohen, a consultant with Deloitte Consulting. Both publications are ressential reading.
Last modified: 19-03-2012
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