Sunday, November 9, 2014
The Recipient’s Perspective
Many leaders are at a loss about how to best support and engage employees during a change process. Responses to my recent webinars and talks about the topic support this trend. As most of us know, one of the primary reasons why some 70% of change efforts fail is because leaders do not consider change from a recipient's perspective. Seems basic, seems obvious, but apparently it isn’t.
William Bridges in his book Managing Transitions highlights how the transition stage distresses employees most. According to Bridges it’s the process of letting go of the old and embracing the unknown that is tough on people. If you think about your own transition periods in life I’m sure you can relate.
Another expert in the field is Ken Blanchard, who uses a six-step change model. He talks about common reactions people have when they are asked to change and how leaders inadvertently get it wrong. His six categories of concerns are:
1. Information Concerns: What is the change? Why is it needed?
2. Personal Concerns: How will the change impact me? Will I win, will I lose?
3. Implementation Concerns: What do I do first? How do I manage all the details?
4. Impact Concerns: Is the effort worth it? Is the change making a difference?
5. Collaboration Concerns: Who else should be involved? How do we spread the
6. Refinement Concerns: How can we make the change even better?
The third change management expert I wish to mention is my Dutch fellowman Guido Cuyvers (Integrale Organisatieverandering, 2003). Cuyvers categorized many of the questions employees ask themselves when confronted with a change. I trust that these questions help you consider change from the recipient's perspective. I trust they’ll help you guide and support your people through the change process more effectively.
- Can I handle this?
- Does this imply I’m not doing a good enough job now?
- I have everything under control right now, will I in the future?
- How much extra time and energy will this take?
- Where and when will I see the return on this investment?
- What actual support can I expect?
- Do I need additional knowledge and training?
- Do I have a voice in any of this?
- Will the new method, organization etc. be efficient?
- Is the ratio investment-desired results a healthy one?
- Do we have the knowledge and resources to make this change happen?
- Is this the right pace or are we going too fast?
- I don’t know how to prepare and organize all the needed activities.
- Will everyone involved do his share?
- What can I expect from colleagues and management?
- How can we make changes based on our daily experience with clients?
With the ever increasing number of workplace changes, you better get the support part right, because without the motivation and commitment of your people, there is no hope for your change to succeed.