Believe it or not, the majority of people will happily follow your change no matter what the doomsayers say!
Often when we start talking about changing something in our businesses we will hear from a few people that the majority won’t accept whatever that change is. This kind of talk tends to freeze perfectly good ideas and often it gets them put into the too hard basket.
The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way. You see the majority of people will walk with the change if you approach it in the right way. At the risk of oversimplification, I have put together a modus operandi that will help you engender change the right way in your business.
It’s a bell curve people, it always is…
Who will accept change in your organisation, (provided you approach it right) is a bell curve. The majority will walk with you, some will be a bit enthusiastic, some will be a bit unenthused but they also won’t resist much. Then you have your fringe people (the 99.7% percentile), this demographic are those who are committed to your change and those who will move against your change.
This process probably won’t help you with those who are totally against your change (I have other things to help you out with them) but it will help you keep the majority of people happy so you don’t end up with a revolt on your hands.
Use Fair Process to get people on board
Fair process affects people’s attitudes and behaviours. As humans, we believe in fair process, when something is not fair we are immediately opposed to it. Fair process allows you to include everyone in your change. Then when people feel that they have become part of the change process, you will engender behaviours that enable the mass of people in your organisation to move towards your goals.
It’s about getting people on board early, allow them to become part of the change. Interestingly fair process is a lot like what we see in leadership behaviour models attached to the framework SEE, BE, DO, GET.
To put SEE, BE, DO, GET into context for you if you have not come across it before, essentially how we SEE the world (Through the stories we tell ourselves) determines who we are (BE). Who we are (BE) determines the actions that we take (DO) and the actions that we take determine what we GET.
Changing our outcomes cannot be done simply by changing what we DO, before long you will be back to the old DO, getting the old outcomes. If we want to change what we GET, we have to change the Stories we tell ourselves so that how we SEE the world changes. This is why it’s important to get people on board at the start of the change not leave them until the last minute.
The Fair Process stages look like:
1. Strategy Formulation (SEE)
Fair Process: Engagement, Explanation, Expectation Clarity
This stage is about setting up the stories that people will tell themselves about your change, you are going to influence how they see this change and it is here that the stage is set for success. If you skip this step or don’t do it right, chances are you will have to start all over again as you find deeper and deeper resistance to your change.
In this stage, you need to start engaging people in the change. Tell them about the possibility you want to bring about. Ensure explanations are given about why the change is needed and finally ensure you are clear on what people can expect to happen. Don’t hide things from your staff, they will eventually find out and if they find out you have been hiding things from them, regardless of your reasons. They will sabotage your change.
2. Attitudes (BE)
Trust and Commitment. “I feel my opinion counts”
If you have setup the strategy formulation well, people will be telling themselves good stories about the change that is coming. Now that you have the majority of people in one form or another moving with you, it is time to let that flow into their attitudes. (BE)
The way you build trust and commitment in the Attitudes stage is by allowing people to feel that their opinion counts. Engage them in the process, allow them to have input and value their feedback. In this way, those who want to contribute can and will feel that their opinion counts.
This will help prevent any septic attitudes from developing during your change as people have been engaged for their opinion.
3. Behaviour (DO)
Voluntary cooperation. “I’ll go beyond the call of duty”
If you as the leader of your change project have set up stages one and two properly then you will find that this stage is where people will voluntarily contribute to your project. People have explored your project with you and have now accepted it and are willing to move with you.
Create opportunities for people to help bring about the change and then by bringing these volunteers on board you will find that the execution of the project – what you GET, will exceed expectations.
4. Strategy Execution (GET)
Exceeds expectations (Self-initiated)
Now that you have people who are voluntarily contributing to your change, your possibility you will get the outcomes that you are after. Because you have laid the foundations for change to happen you will be able to benefit from the successful execution of your strategy.
By understanding that before you can have your outcomes, you must start with people being able to SEE your possibility. If you skip the first step you will never GET the outcomes you are after. Instead, you will end up with either only a small part of the possibility or as often the case, no true change, just a group of people in full on resistance to it, no matter how much it will benefit them in the long run.
Wrapping up Fair Process
Don’t underestimate the power of fair process and its effect on the people whom you want to bring with you on your possibility journey.
No-one hates change, people just hate fake change.
By using the SEE, BE, DO, GET model we can build a relational pathway to success and in doing so promote change as a positive event within our businesses.