Monday, February 25, 2013

There's A Storm A Comin'

Change happens all the time. In fact, I'm pretty tired of using the term change because it is either perceived as a threat, or is completely missed by those who are simply unable to let go of their prehistoric, I mean traditional leadership styles.

But change is a comin' my friends.

Mind Over Matter
Instead of rambling on about change theory and the leadership development programming that supports it; I'd like to explore what we as leaders, particularly in HR think about during periods of change.

How do you prepare? Do you consult with anyone prior to things starting to churn? Are the political realities all accounted for in your mind as your organization barrels ahead? Do you even know the "real" dynamics involved?

These questions are important to consider, perhaps even make some notes privately to get things organized in your mind. Change is very often good...until those impacted feel threatened. Then change isn't so much fun for them...or those around them.

Pitfalls and Post Mortems
Answering the questions above help us (read here --> me) avoid the numerous pitfalls that will present themselves during any change process of a reasonable magnitude. Yet somehow despite my well-intended planning I repeatedly find myself doing the proverbial post-mortem on the unanticipated issues that blew up during the course of the change.

Why does that happen? Am I simply not good enough to map out every conceivable option that might come up? Do I have a blind spot that precludes me from managing every aspect of every change with every person involved? 

Oh, wait. There's people involved in every change process. Now I get it...turns out human behavior is nearly impossible to game plan.

How About You
I'm not willing to default the change challenge to human nature and be done with it. Somehow there has to be a way to think through and do a better job planning for, and reacting to the behavior of others during times of change. What do you do?

I'd love to hear from you.

No Excuses.

photo credit


  1. Jay-
    Great topic, let me offer four key elements.
    1. Leaders need to be role models, shining examples of what the change is about.
    2. Systems and reinforcement need to be in place to support the change. New Objectives. Different rewards. Continuous feedback and recognition.
    3. Clear explanations of the "why". How will this change help us achieve our goals better?
    4. Focus on improving capabilities. I understand Why, I see the leaders acting the right way, I want the recognition, but you have to give me the skills to work within the change.

    Communication plans aren't enough. You need to be thinking about and acting on all four of these areas, and your change plan will bring about the deisred result.