Change, Adapt, and Overcome in the Face of Danger (2/2)
Use your strategy and get some help when things don't go well!
But HOW do we change?
The next question that naturally comes to our minds is: "How do I go about changing the direction my company is on? Anyone who has tried to help companies or leaders change may bear scars from their efforts. The key to successful change is not learning to be better commanders or lecturers. The key lies in understanding change from a brain-based perspective that focuses on how change is a process “we” do together, not one “I” do alone.
It is vital to have a strategy for your company and strategic tools to support going through tough times. Only then can change take place when we are engaged with others in co-creating conversations. Under the guidance of the company's strategy, conversations full of discovery and questions that open our thinking happen and only then can true change happen.
There are four pillars that are key to successful change:
Resistance to change. It is natural for a person to resist whenever they are asked to do things differently. This often leads to frustration and unproductive arguing in the company. You have to accept resistance as natural. People need to challenge new ideas before they can accept them. Have authentic, meaningful dialogues (not Power Point presentations) about how, why and how fast to change rather than being asked to merely comply. This will release new energy for change.
Changing mindsets. Don’t underestimate the time required for needed dialogue about change. Create forums where people can have open, candid conversations to learn their place in the emerging social order. Transparency and openness have a facilitative impact on transforming fears into constructive strategies for success.
Take care of people's emotions. It would be much easier if logic and facts always worked on people, but we know from our work with clients that people are emotional during change, and logical facts fail to speak to the social emotional brain. It is imperative to create a sense of community and give people reassurance that they are not in this alone. This creates a "We" mentality instead of an "I" mentality. When this happens, a group becomes a strong team of individuals poised to work together to create change.
Take your time. Often we want change to happen fast. We have little patience in living through change, and instead move quickly into convergent decision making about what to change and how. Create conversational practices where people can co-create the future together. This is about navigating with others from many perspectives to arrive at practices and rituals that “we” all embrace.
Things written on paper sound much better than they usually happen in reality. So, I would like to add the fifth element - Don't be afraid to ask for help when things don't go well or you don't know which way to go. Do not be over-confident and too proud when there are real life implications for so many people in your company.
Often times it happens that firms are incapable of "thinking out of the box" or that strategic conversations do not happen within the company. This is not any failure or fault of the company, it just is like that. Often, outside specialists are needed where the outsider makes his or her skills and knowledge and experience available to an enterprise in an advisory role, including implementation.
The consultant can bring new, unbiased thinking into the company, strategic tools to guide strategic change, and game-changing answers that no one else can provide. Just by the outsider being there and asking questions, productive conversations happen that wouldn't otherwise.
Waiting until the market has already changed means playing catch-up. Don't fall behind but proactively look how to improve your business!