Marbral Advisory’s Dawn Rutherford has been a Change Manager for over 15 years.
Shifts in workplace culture, practices and mindset have been extensive in this time. So, are we better off now? And do we look at change differently? Dawn explains all in this article.
Change has been part of my life, my whole life in fact (as it is for us all from the minute we are born), and I have been a Change Manager for over 15 years. During this time, my profession, and how businesses approach change, has evolved beyond all recognition.
When I began my career, I would never have used my bosses first name, there was no such thing as ‘flexible working’, I shared a VDU (Visual Display Unit for those who never knew there was such a thing) with 20 other colleagues and I absolutely would not have said I didn’t agree when my boss wanted me to change the way I worked… I would just do it no matter how scary or challenging it was.
When I reflect, I am so glad I work in the environment I do now.
Today, we acknowledge that change can be difficult for people, it can create resistance, stress, increased workloads, and impact relationships. But without change, where would we be? Still waiting for a VDU to become available?
So, here is the challenge we all face. We know we need change, but we also know that it is human to resist it. Our brain sees change as a threat that we need to be protected from. So, if we acknowledge that ‘the only constant in life is change’ (Heraclitus) what can we all do to support each other through change?
There are many different models to support change management and I am a supporter of The Prosci ADKAR® Model, as it works for all types of change, and anyone can use it.
Here I want to share some of my top tips:
- Engage – as early and as often as you can. Get to know the ’people’ not the roles to understand personal drivers and challenges and continue this throughout and after the change. This will allow people time to understand and take control of the change.
- Listen and seek to understand – make sure you are in ‘receive’ mode when discussing the change, even if it is not what you want to hear. In my experience, critics are excellent for insightful feedback and by engaging with them, innovative solutions can appear.
- Act – when you say you will do something, do it. This will help in building trust, which is a must when going through periods of significant change.
And finally, consider how you are implementing the change and where you can make the change fun.
If we enjoy the experience of the new world, we are much more likely to adopt it than revert to old habits.
Take a look at Volkswagen Sweden ‘the fun theory’ by DDB Stockholm, which made me consider a different approach to change. Instead of focusing our efforts on trying to get people to accept the change that their brains are reacting against, we make the change more fun and then people change their own behaviour, therefore increasing the speed of adoption.
Marbral Advisory delivers change and project management, and advisory and training services, to businesses going through change. If you need help with your sustainability planning, policies, processes, programmes, or projects, then please email to get in touch today.