I find myself thinking a great deal about change. How we are changing, how well (or badly) we are changing…speed of change, direction of change. It’s either quite sad…or very engaging! Truth is that we are all experiencing change all the time…at work, at home, at leisure. We all tend to believe we have more control over change that happens outside of our work…I doubt that it true really….
Organisations tend to be more organised over change. We create teams, appoint leaders, and enrol team members, charter and plan. At home or individually we don’t. If we decide to move house – arguably one of the biggest changes we ever experience – we don’t appoint, enrol or charter…although we do plan I guess!
Back in our work world then…when we set up teams we tend to look to enrol individuals with specific skill sets we believe we will need for success…but also we like to enrol people who are good at Managing Change. Not so much Managers who can lead others through change…but more individuals who we know or believe can personally cope well with changes that happen around them…or to them. Experience shows that these are good people to have on a team set up to help us manage change…
We are organisation. So the immediate next step for a new team in virtually any organisation is to produce and socialise (I know) a charter. A list of activities, deliverables, time lines, team members…
I see (and author) a great number of charters…I am less sure about how many of those charters are great. I am an enthusiast for words, and I have long since realised that most team’ deliverables are indeed focussed on Change Management. This make sense when I think about the basis for how we enrol team members. Change Management is indeed a very common terminology and is important. But I found myself this week – as I was sitting in another airport departure lounge waiting to fly home – thinking the obvious…that we can only hope to manage change…once change has started!
Put another way – before Change Management we need Change Encouragement. Strangely enough, Change Encouragement somehow doesn’t quite run off the tongue. Who knows – maybe I have just created a new concept!
I do know though, that I haven’t seen a charter that talks about the need to Manage and Encourage Change.
Change Encouragement. What is our motivation to change? Individually or organisationally?
It can be based on a clear, exciting and engaging picture of the future – in effect we are helped to ‘See the Light’….we see the attractions and benefits of change (aka the Compelling Vision). Or it can be based on the pain and problems of the current – in effect we are helped to ‘Feel the Heat’…we see the dissatisfaction and risks of no change (aka the Burning Platform).
Most of our experiences suggest that change is encouraged best when there is a combination of both light and heat. We move house when we see our new dream home…but we tend to start looking when we recognise our current house is either way too small or too big for our current needs.
So this is where Change Encouragement…and the benefit we have from identifying individuals who are good change encouragers…comes in. A good change encourager will not simply tell us that we have to change…they are able to explain and envision, encourage and engage, listen and understand.
They have experiences we can relate to. They are people we can relate to. They are Change Encouragers. They are not always our leaders…but they are people we are always happy to follow.