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About This Episode
Nobody likes change.
Whether it’s a major change like a move or a new CEO, or a minor change like a new chef at your favorite restaurant, or a redesign of your phone’s layout, change is hard for everyone.
But some people deal with it better than others.
Which is why understanding change management is so crucial for your organization. Specifically in the midst of the COVID pandemic, we’re all dealing with a lot more change than normal, and if we don’t know how to implement it correctly within our organization, it can be daunting.
Thankfully, there are people like Bosman du Plessis. Bosman is the Director of Sales Operations at Locumtenens.com, and was kind enough to come on the show recently and discuss, among other things, his four principles of effective change management within an organization.
Find the Right Change Leaders
First and foremost, if you don’t have the right leaders in place, change management is going to be a less than enjoyable experience.
But what makes a good change leader?
Bosman likens it to a sport he knows a lot about, rugby. Ideally, you wouldn’t want someone coaching a rugby club that has never played rugby before. Or to bring to the United States shores, you probably wouldn’t hire an NBA coach that’s never played basketball before.
You want someone who’s been in the trenches. Who’s been there before. They’re a leader, sure, but they’ve still got skin in the game. They’ve been on the ground.
It gives them experience, and credibility.
And secondly, you want to choose a handful of ambassadors in your organization to help lead you through the change.
Ambassadors are those people that you can count on in the meeting to engage and raise questions. Those folks that will go the extra mile to make sure that the team is engaged and motivated.
Change is Two-Dimensional
Change is never static. It’s always a dynamic process, but the problem is that too often people tend to treat is as a static process.
The first dimension, and the one that people often tend to overlook, is defining what needs to change. Prioritizing initiatives, and then getting the needed buying from everyone involved, from executive leadership all the way down.
The second dimension is the question of “how do we drive adoption of this new status quo? How do we actually drive the implementation of the change?”
And this is the dimension that is often focused on while that crucial first dimension is tragically ignored, leading to a team that is ill prepared to implement the needed change, or doesn’t even know what needs changed in the first place.
Answer the “Why?”
It’s easy to assume that every group in the organization will adopt a change and run with it, especially if there are groups for which the change will be seemingly minor. It won’t impact them much, so why should they have much to say about it?
But until you answer the WHY for everyone involved, you’re not truly leading your team through change.
There are two types of coaches in sports. There’s the coach that says, “I’m the coach. I tell you what to do, and you go out and do it, and if you don’t do it, you suffer the consequences of not doing what I told you to do.”
Then there are the coaches that involve their players and engage them in their learning process. They make them WANT to get better. Want to improve. They bring them along for the journey and show them why running THAT route or working out THIS way will make them better in the long run.
The same is true for business.
View Every Touchpoint With Stakeholders as Key Part of the Journey
When should you bring key stakeholders into the discussion? Once you’ve decided on the change? Once you’ve begun to implement change? Once you’re ready to deliver training around the change?
From the very first conversation you have about the potential of change, all stakeholders should be involved. Their questions should be addressed. The why’s should be answered.
It’s all about empathy, listening, understanding, and communicating what you’re trying to solve for. What is the change? How is it going to even slightly impact them? Every stakeholder needs to understand the change journey from the very beginning.
Change is never fun or easy, but with the right framework, your team can embrace change, make it work for them, and come through it stronger than ever before.