Thursday, August 12, 2010

How to Effect Change

Notes from "The Myths and Magic of Change" presentation by Peter de Jager 2010-08-12

Why do people resist change?
We say it's due to
A. People resist change (but people make important good changes in their lives all the time: Marriage, Children, Job changes...)
B. Uncertainty (but, people make good changes all the time even with lots of uncertainty (e.g Marriage, Children, new job...)
C. Fear (but, people make decisions to make changes in the face of fear (e.g. getting on a plane, etc.)

So, Why (or when) do people resist change?
1. Because we don't want to be forced
2. Because the change seems Unwarranted. Why are we making this change?
3. Because the Change isn't clear - what exactly are you asking us to change?
4. Because there might be a hidden agenda - they don't trust us

Why have change initiatives failed?
From Peter's survey, he found the biggest reason given was because the people initiating the change were not involved or committed to the change

A simple change model: The Kubler-Ross Grief Cycle
(Think about this pattern for someone who was just told they were being laid off or just told they have a terminal disease)
1. Denial
2. Anger
3. Bargaining
4. Depression
5. Acceptance
Note that these phases may take varying amounts of time and some people get stuck in one. Also, some people move forwards and backwards in the list. They may go back to an earlier phase.

Here are the top 7 questions you should try to answer when asking someone to change:
1. Why?
Why Is the change necessary? What is is important? Why now?
What's in it for me? This is a question many people will have in their minds. Think of a merger? When it's announced, the number one question in people's minds will be about how it will effect them
3. Monday?
What should I do differently on Monday?
4. Won't
What won't change? What will remain the same? My pay, my job, my boss, my working hours?
5. Might?
What might go wrong? What are the pitfalls? unknowns?
6. Willl?
What will be painful? What will hurt? This helps people prepare for what will be difficult?
7. Signposts?
If this is a change that will take a while, what will be the mileposts along the way so we know we're making progress?

I hope this helps you effect change in your situation!

Other Resources:
Peter's talk on "Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks"
Peter's webinars:
Pete's publications (many free articles):

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