Last week I was working with a client organisation going through a transformation. They know and understand the value of change management to the successful outcome of the transformation. So they asked “How do we get people to embrace change?’ Change is always difficult. Human beings by nature like status quo. To help people embrace change we have to understand what motivates individuals are to change.
A simple model that can be quite useful in helping to understand the factors needed for change is the Four C’s. They are:
- Commitment, and
1 – Choice
Whether we are dealing with organisational or personal change it all starts with a choice. As an Executive coach my clients often have been told by their organisation to participate in coaching – the reality of this is whilst in theory they are said to have a choice to decline – most feel that they have to do it or they’ll be fired! A similar situation when as a Leader your organisation wants to make changes and you have to tell your team – ‘this is the change we must make’. When this happens it’s key to get this out in the open and talk about it because it is a reality that is does not feel like a choice.
2 – Conviction
When a client comes into a coaching relationship, effectively on the mandate of the client organisation, or as a leader you have to tell your team the change is going to take place there may not be the desired conviction, i.e. belief in the need for the change.
If there is no belief in it then the next stage, commitment will be lacking. The key to developing conviction for the change is to remember:
you coach the whole person
As a leader you need to understand your teams, and the individuals in your teams concerns. Are there valid reasons for why they don’t believe in the change initiative? Have you explored their concerns and addressed them? You can try using the CHANGE CANVASS METHOD to explore the issues related to change with you team.
3 – Commitment
Only when your people are convicted that the change is necessary, and achievable will they be committed to it. Your commitment is critical to mobilising others. That means you must demonstrate your commitment in what you say, and how you behave. You must champion the change.
4 – Compassion
Compassion is critical and MUST be present from the outset. This is about our compassion as coaches and leaders for our clients or teams. This is needed to push through with clients who feels there is nothing at all they need to change, or teams who are of the same view or think a different change is required – denial, ego and a whole host of other behaviours can manifest at this stage which are all resistance to change. Our compassion is needed to be able push through this resistance in a way that says “I hear you, I know it’s painful, I’m but I will go through it with you”.
Enter No. 5 – Challenge
Coupled with compassion the other C that must be present for change to take place is Challenge. We do our client’s/team a disservice if we do not challenge their perspectives on situations/circumstances (of course respectfully and appropriately). Our job as change agents is to help them gain “clear perspective’ – helping them to see different perspectives.Challenge can be difficult for both the coach/leader and the client and the team. It generally requires the client/team to re-assess their thoughts and perspectives because behaviour doesn’t change until the thought that produces a particular behaviour changes. This is the hardest thing for all of us to do – re-writing our scripts. The good news is that Cognitive neuroscience shows we humans are “uniquely and wonderfully made” and so have the capacity to re-write our thought patterns if we choose to, have the conviction that it’s possible and commit to doing practical things to change our thoughts!
Maybe it’s time for you to re-write the script in your head…I have and it really does promote chnage, why not join me, till next time.