Jean’s Driving Change Sequence is offered to assist in moving your people from ‘fear about’ to ‘interest in’ and then ‘commitment to’ change.
You’ll know that change can be introduced or imposed in such a way that it is seen to be moving too far, too fast, and too soon. Have you seen people fall away and behind, their interest and support disintegrate and found yourself – as the initiator or facilitator of change – stranded and isolated? When this happens, the task of regaining that ground will be difficult and daunting, to say the least.
It seems as though we are in a constant state of change – and a constant emphasis on fear!
It doesn’t help that fear is increasingly prominent as a basis for managing change – fear about the present situation, fear about options for change, and fear about the process of change. Just look at the deluge of advertisements for health products or treatments for the prominence of fear as a motivating factor for introducing change into your choice of food, healthy living habits or medical/treatment options.
With this background, it’s no wonder that fear relating to change is a growing challenge for ‘change agents’ of any kind in any context.
1. The speed with which change is introduced can be a crucial factor in its success. The best advice I can offer is to heed the concept of MOMENTUM where there are three basic components –
- the size of the object,
- the speed with which it is moving, and
- the direction in which it is moving.
If you transfer these components to the introduction of change, you are looking at:
- the size of the change – the amount of change and the degree to which the organizational environment is going to be affected by the change,
- the speed of introducing the change – the amount of preliminary discussion, preparation and planning, and
- the direction in which the change is taking the organisation – the purpose and vision you are working to achieve in the grand, as well as this immediate, plan.
2. Change which grows out of analysis and identification of the status quo will, of its very nature, respect the three components of momentum and will develop its own genuine self-induced momentum. However, imposed change can bring about disruption and disquiet: transplanting change from someone else’s context can be disastrous; and forced change can be treated with a mammoth lack of enthusiasm.
Jean’s DRIVING CHANGE SEQUENCE is offered to assist in:
- moving from ‘fear about’ to ‘interest in’ and then ‘commitment to’ change,
- planning change,
- responding to imposed change, or
- evaluating a recent change process.
In planning change – or responding to imposed change – carefully consider and monitor:
- the size of the change – the amount of change that is acceptable to the Four Primary Players in Driving Change (Step 1 below), and the degree to which the organizational environment (both internal and external) is going to be affected by the change process or outcome,
- the speed of introducing the change – carefully examine the Drivers (ie catalysts, causes or contributors to change), and carefully schedule preliminary discussion, preparation and planning to ensure that the speed is appropriate to the nature of change, and
- the direction in which the change is taking the Organisation – that the focus of change is on the purpose and vision you are working to achieve in the grand, as well as this immediate, plan.
Step 1: Carefully consider the needs, interests and aspirations within these Four Categories of Primary Players in Driving Change:
- the Individuals – people who make up the Organisation, and who will be involved with and/or affected by the change process or outcome
- the Organisation – as a legal entity, as a supplier of goods or services, as an employer, as an investor, as a contractor, etc
- the Geographic Community or Community of Interest served by the Organisation, and
- the internal or external change agent/s – frequently also the source of resources and support for or direction of change
Step 2: Give adequate time to understand that change:
- can be simple or complex – and anything in between
- can mean or include any of these – to alter, improve, strengthen, introduce, replace, remove, expand, extend, shift, use differently, share, combine, adjust, add beauty to, promote, explain, simplify, make more effective, make more accessible, make more friendly, reformat, etc.
Step 3: Carefully consider (a) opportunities and (b) risks associated with the process of change, which can be affected by enthusiasm, desperation, innovation, need, opportunity, challenge, fear, negativity, naivety, ignorance, great wisdom or lack of wisdom, manipulation, etc.
Step 4: Know and understand that change of itself isn’t necessarily positive or negative. It is the motive or intention behind the change where these can more easily be recognized. Some of the most positive changes in communities and in organizations have been initiated with questionable intent – and some of the greatest changes have come about seemingly by accident.
Step 5: Know and understand that EFFECTIVE change begins with gaining an understanding of the current situation with questions like these:
- what’s happening now?
- what are the facts, and how do we feel about the facts?
- what do we wish to change, and why?
- who will benefit?
- what is the nature and extent of control of influence that we have or need to have?
- what is our criteria for making decisions and setting priorities in planning and introducing change, or in reacting or responding to imposed or forced change?
- what is the nature and extent of resources required, and where do these come from?
- how will we evaluate the process of change as well as the outcome of the change process?
- who will be responsible and accountable for the agreed change process and for the desired change outcome?
Step 6: Know and understand that EFFICIENT change means that all available resources are used or utilized in the most effective way to support an effective change process and outcome (‘effective’ is doing the right thing: ‘efficient’ is doing it the right way’).
Step 7: Know and understand that HUMANE change means that the needs and interests of all involved in the process or outcome are carefully and continuously considered and respected: which means active and constructive consultation with the people who will be affected by either the process of change, or the change itself.
Additional resources from Jean include:
- Measurable Consumer Outcomes
- Project/Program Planning, Implementation and Evaluation
- Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement
I’m preparing this website article just after the August 2010 Federal election in Australia and before the election result is transformed into a workable Federal Government, and note the lead article titled ‘Fears fester on the rural margins’ within The Australian newspaper (A PLUS page 13 August 30th)
Hungarian-born sociologist and author Frank Furedi, professor of sociology at the University of Kent in England, is quoted:
“In contemporary society one of the most powerful influences on public and social life is fear and anxiety, and the politicization of fear and anxiety”. He calls it “the sociology of fear”.
He argues fear has emerged as a key factor in 21st century consciousness, and that modern societies engage with many issues through a narrative of fear. As a result, human thought and action are being stifled by uncertainty, societies with a heightened sense of vulnerability are becoming risk-averse, and worst-case thinking has displaced any open minded approach to the future”