In my career, I have lost count of the number of program or systems changes that have either failed or been delayed as a result of resistance to the changes. There is something fundamentally missing in the change management literature; it is simply this: a team with a change-accepting culture will not raise baseless resistance to change or lose objectivity. A team with a change-accepting culture will not lose time, productivity or momentum in the face of a change.
A recent conversation with friends about some proposed changes to their church brought new clarity to these issues for me. The church in question is established and the culture is somewhat entrenched. As we discussed some of the fears and frustrations that were being traded among the church leaders and the church members, I wondered what the major difference was between this group of people and my own work team. It suddenly struck me, this group of church-goers could probably not even remember the last time they experienced significant change. By contrast, my work team has developed a resilience to change through the sheer number of changes (large and small) that we have made together.
There is a great deal of focus placed on the leader’s responsibility to impart vision as the roadmap to change. The key to change is not for a charismatic leader to make the perfect inspirational speech, even though this may work in the movies. A team only develops a change-accepting culture by ‘doing’ change. The size of the change is much less important than the frequency.
A change-accepting culture is not developed by undertaking
large changes, but rather by undertaking change frequently!
Am I coaching you to expose your team to change for the sake of change? No, but I am encouraging you to wade into change often. Don’t avoid it. Your team will develop resilience only by doing.
The Focused Manager