Change or Chance? (part 12)

The Fundamental Principles of Change

In our last post, we discussed the “typical” (with a propensity to fail) recipe for change or transformation initiation.

The key phases of “typical” change programs:

“Management”, “Select Few”, “Have To”, “Head”.

And we discussed that this approach naturally activates the “Survive” instinct in the organisation’s people, causing the release of biochemicals that stimulate fear and anxiety.  

Additionally, “Survive” also triggers narrow, focused, and rapid problem-solving activities in the brain (which can be quite helpful in a change environment).

But there’s a better way. 

A much better way. 

Appeal to people’s positive emotions (remember we looked at how important is the emotional component of a Strategic Vision?)

The science of change has identified the missing elements of outmoded change programs.

They are:

  • “Leadership”.

Change isn’t just about “managing”, it’s also about “leading” change. 

This means sponsoring, envisioning, removing obstacles to action and implementation. 

It’s about creating and maintaining a sense of urgency, and communicating effectively and for buy-in.

It’s about unlocking leadership throughout the organisation and indeed involving external stakeholders too.

  • “Diverse Many”

Break out of silo thinking. 

Involve many stakeholders in the change process and using many brains to problem solve and innovate.  This exponentially increases your organisation’s intellectual capabilities. 

There are leaders everywhere. 

Use them.

  • “Want To”

People are much more likely to constructively engage with anything if they “want to” do it.

The same with change. 

Leadership>strategic vision>communicating for buy-in (including face-to-face)>celebrate short term wins (and the people who make them happen)>maintain momentum and the enthusiasm for it.

  • “Heart”

Yes “heart”. 

This is about appealing to, and engaging with, peoples’ emotions. 

And you’ll note that the preceding is all about just that.  

These critical elements trigger “Thrive” in people – passion, excitement, curiosity, innovation and collaboration. 

This balances Survive and helps to stop it from being over-stimulated.

So, we now have the essential components of the four fundamental Principles of change.
  • Management PLUS Leadership
  • Select Few PLUS Diverse Many
  • Have To PLUS Want To
  • Head PLUS Heart

These fundamental principles align with the eight accelerators of change to significantly enhance the effectiveness of a sustainable change or transformation program:

  • Create a sense of urgency
  • Build a Guiding Coalition
  • Form a Strategic Vision
  • Enlist a Volunteer Army and communicate for buy-in
  • Enable action by removing barriers to change
  • Celebrate short term wins
  • Maintain acceleration
  • Institute (embed) change

You now have the essential framework for your change programs.  The rate of change is accelerating.  

You’re going to need it.

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