The Irrational Side of Change Management
Updated: May 14, 2021
Change management is one of those leadership skills that can make or break a leader. Leaders play a significant role in instituting change and should serve as models to manage the change effectively.1 Being able to control the change management process is a unique skill that can yield great results. Unfortunately, before you can become a powerful source of effective change management, you need to understand one thing: change management isn’t rational. As soon as you accept that, you will be ready to see it through.
The Four Principles of Change Management
Ultimately, change management can be boiled down to four specific principles. To plan and implement change that is well-received by any audience, you need to know and understand these principles to move forward.
Define Your Understanding and Communicate It
Your first step to change management will be to create understanding. For most of us, this means creating a clear and compelling story. Remember, “what motivates you doesn’t motivate most of your employees,”2 so you need to communicate the value the change management process can bring to your organization.
Tips for Understanding:
Explain “why” change is happening because your employees must understand the point of the change and agree with it.2
Define the clear benefits for all parties.
Craft a narrative that demonstrates these understandings and communicates the importance of adaptability in the change management process.
Be a Role Model
Being a good role model is one of the most essential leadership skills in your toolbox. To do this, you must be willing to put your ego aside and embrace the change yourself. When your employees see that you are flexible and adaptable to change, they will be more open to it.
Tips for Role Modeling:
Avoid being negative. As a leader, use your emotional intelligence skills to manage your emotions and the emotions of your team.
Demonstrate explicit acceptance and emulate the behaviors you want your employees to adopt.2
Highlight how you see the benefit of this change for your employees and the organization.
Before you can ultimately move forward with an idea, you need to be prepared to reinforce it. You cannot simply mention a change once and then expect it to be accepted. For some time, you and your team will need to “live the change.” Create easy ways to push employees towards the future.
Tips for Reinforcement:
Make paths of reinforcement for different employee groups (i.e., entry-level, mid-level, executive level management). You can’t have a one-size-fits-all approach.
Consider the creation of an internal marketing campaign to obtain employee buy-in.
Keep the change in the spotlight and use marketing tools (i.e., teasers, social media, hashtag campaigns, etc.) to communicate your message internally to your employees.
Confidence and Skills Building
For any type of organizational change to be well-received, employees need to be comfortable with it. To ease this process, you will need to build their confidence as the changes occur. Ensure that your team is supported during the process and has the knowledge that they need to adapt to the new changes.
Tips for Confidence Building:
Create an environment where employees have an opportunity to share their questions or concerns.
Demonstrate what successful adoption looks like and let your employees know they have the knowledge, skills, and abilities necessary to accomplish what lies ahead.
Prepare employees with the proper knowledge and provide training if the organizational change will impact their daily functions.
Leading change is not always easy. Help your team to feel comfortable with change by being aware that everyone is different. The transition might take a bit of time but focus on moving through it together as a team.
Organizational Change Management is a complex process that requires careful planning and strategy execution. Leader Essentials Group provides a detailed framework for implementing strategic initiatives, with a focus on internal branding and employee buy-in. Email us at email@example.com to schedule a meeting with us to learn more about our 4-module Change Management training for practitioners and how we can partner with you to help you execute your strategy!
Dr. Cristina Rosario DiPietropolo is the Founder and Chief Executive Officer at Leader Essentials Group, with extensive experience across multiple industries and highly skilled in the areas of strategic planning, organizational behavior, human resource management, change management, and leadership. Over ten years of teaching experience as a university professor of management, with a special focus on leadership in entrepreneurship, organizational behavior, and international management.
_________________________________________________________________________ 1 Jalagat, R. (2016). The impact of change and change management in achieving corporate goals and objectives: Organizational perspective. International Journal of Science and Research, 5(11), 1233-1239. 2 Aiken, C., & Keller, S. (2009). The irrational side of change management. McKinsey Quarterly, 2(10), 100-109.