Cheryl Jones
Post by On 31 May 2019 In Blog K2 0 Comment

Why Change Initiatives Fail – What You Need to Do Now to Save It

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Any time an organization tries to change the standard way of doing things, there will be resistance – or as I like to call it, a bumpiness period. It’s that period where things feel awkward, uncomfortable, and don’t flow as quickly as they did before the change.

The change could be as simple as relocating the supply cabinet or as significant as changing the culture to be more customer-centric. Change requires that we do something different – think differently, act differently, speak differently – which requires us to pay more attention to ourselves and others. It doesn’t take long for us as human beings to settle into a routine where we don’t have to think very hard. In fact, many people enjoy doing the same thing over and again. Think about it. When was the last time you took an unfamiliar route to work?

In the example of the relocation of the supply cabinet, employees who were programmed to go to the same place for their supplies may struggle at first with the new location. The disruption to their normal routine may create frustration for a time. Initially, they may find themselves standing in the place of the old cabinet out of habit. You might even hear some grumbling that sounds like, “Why did they change this? It makes no sense.” What the employee is really saying is, “Why didn’t I remember that they moved the supplies? Now I have to think about where I’m going.”

But when it comes to changing the culture of the organization, we are talking about a bit bigger disruption to the employees’ daily routine. They may be asked to change something about themselves or their way of engaging with the customer. They may be asked to step outside their normal job function to work more as a team or asked to take on more personal responsibility for the quality and quantity of their work.

No organization initiates change for the fun of it. There is always a financial or efficiency reason behind the change. So, what is a manager to do when she is met with the resistance and grumblings of a staff grappling with the change?

Begin by reminding yourself why the change was initiated. Remember what wasn’t working about the old system and how the new system should improve things. Stay steadfast in the decision. Wavering in your resolve may be taken as a lack of commitment by staff members and sway the momentum back to the old comfort zone. Remind your employees of the intended outcome and how the result will improve the environment and the business. Let them know this is the new normal. Assure them the new protocol will be re-evaluated after a specific period, say 90 days. Ask them for their commitment and encourage them to put their best effort into making the new system work.

As their manager, it is up to you to set clear guidelines and expectations and be an agent for change. Your tone and enthusiasm for transformation will go a long way to help your employees embrace the new normal.

Last modified on Friday, 31 May 2019 18:54

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