John Kotter elucidates that some people strongly say no to change and resist it completely. We often try to coerce them into embracing change and that is where we go wrong because once you do that it will create a rebellious tension where they will feel pretend to have accepted change but will be doing things unethically on the sly. You cannot force people to be part of the change process because if you do that they will cause serious damage. Some of these people will be very open if they are in powerful positions while others will shut down completely.
You cannot give someone a sense if ownership if they refuse to accept change because they can do endless mischief, instead you should try to divert their attention elsewhere and keep it out of their way because they can always create infinite damage and convince other people to also resist change.
John Kotter suggests that change should be implemented in 8 steps as follows:
Creating a need
This can be done in the following ways:
- Identifying the strengths in the business and how to utilize them.
- Identifying weaknesses of the business and how to mitigate them.
- Scanning the environment to find the opportunities outside to see if a change would be appropriate
- Identifying threats so that the business can up its game in order to keep up with trends and ensure they stay in the market for an infinite period.
- You can also initiate transparent conversations so as to establish the needs of the employees and get suggestions on what needs to be changed or what doesn’t need to be changed.
This can be achieved in the following ways:
- Identifying people who are resilient and also strategic thinkers so that they can play a key role in guiding people on how to go about change while also involving stakeholders who are potential in supporting and effecting this change.
- Form teams where people collaborate with each other in terms of working towards common goals and objectives.
- Outsource professional people with great skills to train the team and reduce their shortcomings so as to make them very effective and mentally prepared for change.
Developing a Vision and a Strategy
This can be achieved by:
- Determining the core values, mission and vision of the Company and its effectiveness.
- Identifying the lead and lag measures and the need to bridge the gap in performance.
Communicating the Vision
- Communicate the change in the vision in an open way by telling a story through it or using an analogy so that people can understand well why the change is necessary. Elaborate on how the change can make the vision clearer and enhance performance.
- Make people feel heard, seen and understood. That way, involvement is high and it motivates employees to do better.
Mitigating externalities and risks
- Ensure that the organization culture and structure is in accordance to the general goals and performance expectations.
- Strive for continuous improvement and try to create an environment where people feel that the change will be of great importance to them, this way even those who resist change might start to lean on the positive side.
- Give gifts and rewards to people who embrace change, this serves as a motivating factor to the majority.
Rewarding small achievements
- Small achievements in turn add up to a great achievement and even accomplishing the goal. When you make people feel that what they are doing is rational no matter how small the step is, they feel valued and appreciated.
- You can have small intervals instead of the main target, the small targets are easier to achieve and psychologically, will make people feel that they are getting closer to the desired goal.
- Reward people who go over and above to meet the expected target.
- Once you start rewarding individual achievements, people feel pushed to do more to get more recognition as others feel like they should up their game hence improving everything generally.
Change the Organization Culture
- It starts with belief and change in mindset so that it can result to a positive work culture where people completely imbibe change within themselves and live with it.
- Leaders should also support the change by continuously offering all the support needed to ensure the change does not alter the normal functioning of the organization in a negative way.