Literally thousands of methods are put forward in various change management publications regarding how to influence people’s attitudes and management behavior. Underpinning these methods are many organisational and psychological factors which influence the outcome of change.
The difficulty of change though is that nothing can guarantee it. Methods are oversimplications of reality and while navigating such reality, the odds of success can vary significantly.
Today we look at a few such factors which increase the likelihood of change. These apply to organisations, communities and individuals.
1. A compelling story: People must see the point of the change and agree with it, at least enough to give it a try.
An important aspect of a compelling story is the ability to effectively communicate it’s purpose. Change comes both with benefits and losses. Acknowledging the losses and emphasizing the benefits will make the change real, not only visionary.
Unforgettable slogans help, because they resonate with many people. But more than anything, the story needs to have a strong essence, linked to real problems, pains, threats and opportunities.
2. Role modeling: People must also see others they admire modeling the desired behavior.
Humans are social creatures and it is much easier to learn new behaviours around others who model such behaviors, especially those we admire or respect. Therefore, effective role modeling requires a concerted effort to identify and cultivate talent who exhibit the behavior aligned to the change direction. These people can then serve as role models for others, making change more tangible in their colleague’s minds.
3. Reinforcement systems: Surrounding structures, systems, processes and incentives must be in tune with the new behavior.
To effectively reinforce new behavior, organizations must ensure that their systems and processes support and encourage the desired behavior. This may include creating reward and recognition programs, providing opportunities for ongoing training and development, and creating a work environment that encourages and supports the desired behavior.
4. The skills required for change: People need to have the skills to do what is required of them.
It is essential that people receive the appropriate training and development to acquire the necessary skills to effectively perform their new roles and responsibilities. This can include on-the-job training, formal training programs, mentoring and coaching.