Leading Successful Change
One constant since the beginning of time has been change. It’s a well-known fact that people deal with change differently – where some may embrace change, others may be fearful.
It’s important to recognise that the inability to change can hinder progress for both individuals and businesses. Therefore, understanding how your team members best cope with change will result in a more successful change process with better outcomes.
There are several well-respected models that assist organisations to manage change. We’d like to introduce you to two models which may help in your change journey.
The SPIN cycle as explained in Neil Rackham’s 1988 book, helps to identify the need for change. He uses the acronym SPIN:
S – SITUATION - Understanding the situation as it stands now.
P - PROBLEM – Recognise the underlying problem/s currently being experienced.
I – IMPACTS or IMPLICATIONS – What impact or implications will result if problems are not resolved.
N – NEEDS or NEXT STEPS – What are the needs or next steps to solve the problems and avoid the impact.
A very simple example to demonstrate this model:
S - You notice that your business’s gross profit has been declining (situation).
P - What are the underlying problems:
- Are sales down?
- Have your cost of goods increased?
- Are your stock levels too high?
- Are your products under-priced (margin too low or non-existent)?
- Has your labour cost increased?
I - What would be the impact if gross profit continues to decline? It could result in less profit for your shareholders, possible job losses, business restructure, insolvency etc.
N - Determine what the next steps are to solve these problems.
This straightforward model demonstrates how you first need to understand where your business is at before considering if and what change needs to occur. Once you have recognised and accepted that change needs to happen you must then get your team onboard to help achieve the desired outcomes.
There are many different reasons for people’s acceptance or reluctance to change and you need to consider these if your change process is to be successful, for example, how impacted individuals will be, their understanding of why change needs to occur, their previous experiences, the culture of the organisation, their involvement in the change process - consultation vs dictation, levels of trust and communication etc.
Once you have decided that change needs to occur you may wish to implement the ADKAR model to help your team plan and cope with the change process.
ADKAR stands for:
A – AWARENESS – of the need to change (pre-contemplation)
D – DESIRE – to participate and support the change (contemplation)
K – KNOWLEDGE – of how to change (preparation)
A – ABILITY – to implement desired skills and behaviour
R – REINFORCEMENT – to sustain the change (maintenance)
This model was developed by Jeff Hiatt in 2003. It’s an outcome-based model, that can be used to facilitate change by setting clear milestones to be reached throughout the process, noting that individuals may all be at different stages of the process at different times.
Individuals need to buy into the concept of change and understand why it needs to occur. Establish the desire to change – engage your team so they make a personal choice to support and participate in the change process. Provide your team with the information or skills they need to achieve the change. Identify and provide any additional training and resources that may be required. Once the preparation has been done, the team is ready to apply their knowledge and skills to bring about the desired change. Remember to ensure that any goals and KPIs that you set are reasonable and achievable.
Seek feedback from your team – is there anything that needs to be done differently for them to adopt the change and drive the desired results?
Once the change has been implemented it’s crucial to monitor that the change is sustained. How often do people go back to “old ways” especially if they seem easier and more familiar? Make sure to celebrate and reward success.
Lastly, it’s important that you continue to evaluate your change to ensure it’s resulted in the desired outcomes/improvements for your business. Adopting a continuous improvement mentality is critical to ensure that your practices remain relevant and efficient as your business evolves.
Remember, flowing water never grows stagnant.