Let’s face it; we live in a world where change is happening every second of the day. How we choose to accept or not accept the change depends on about a zillion factors. In today’s world with so many tools at ourfingertips you would think that implementing change would be a piece of cake! Yet, with every implementation or organizational change you still find people who resist the change.
Throughout my career I have attended more Change Management seminars than I would like to admit. Why attend you may ask…well it was always under the hope that I would have this magical moment…..who am I kidding….. I was waiting for an epiphany in which the key note speaker would let me in on THE secret of how to effectively implement change and minimize resistance. Well, it never happened and the quest to find the right recipe loomed over me for years.
Afraid of the unknown
In today’s era you can Google Change Management and get more hits than Babe Ruth in his heyday. Don’t you find with all the available tools, methodologies and coaching techniques we have lost something? Well, I do, we are all looking at what the latest methodology is, or, what the latest and greatest tool is to make our lives as Change Management Professionals easier but in doing so, we have lost the essential ingredient……the tender human touch of managing change. What in the world am I babbling on about? Change is scary, I admit I don’t like change, I am a creature of routine and habit and here I am a Change Management Professional. Humor me for just a minute, how many times do you send an email rather than calling a person or even scarier getting up from your desk and walking to talk to that person. I’m sure the answer is not often enough.
People are always going to be afraid of the unknown and that’s a fact. The reality my fellow readers is that there is no hand book that teaches you how to be an effective Change Management Professional. You can read articles, participate in seminars, take oodles of courses and still struggle in adapting all these wonderful ideologies and tools in your day to day struggle to manage resistance and implement change. I consider myself very lucky, I fell on a mentor early on in my career that instilled deep into my soul the core building blocks of change that had nothing to do with templates and deliverables and had everything to do with interacting with users, understanding their needs, being aware of their limitations and building strong relationships. I admit, it wasn’t easy or an exact science but it made me take a step back and try to understand and look at things from a different perspective. In doing so I realized that by treating people with respect and common courtesy they were more likely to trust you and eventually embrace the change.
You can have a million degrees and call yourself Dr. Change Management but if you underestimate the impact of culture differences, generational gaps or the inability to have that positive effect of genuine personal contact with your audience you will find yourself in the heart of user resistance land; a place we “Change People” fear more than a mad Greek mother chasing you down the street with a wooden spatula!
Where does this leave you? Well, I can tell you what has helped me….my secret is the ability to listen, respect and understand people. It’s all about building relationships that create a sense of trust, a sense of trust opens the door for communication, communication leads the way to understanding, understanding leads to accepting and accepting leads to Change Management success. Sometimes we have to put aside our templates, timelines and roadmaps for the greater good of human kind!