“The nature of change itself seemed to have changed in recent years. It was becoming obvious: we need to think and act differently.” Janet Ford & Rick Walters, “Managing Dynamic Change”
Here are twelve lessons I learned in working with people designing and implementing change. These lessons apply to individuals, to teams and to organizations. In all of this, there are two things that emerge with some clarity. Those are 1) making a change is a process and 2) disrupting the status quo is seldom easy or comfortable. However, change may be preferred or even necessary if one is to move forward.
- Significant and lasting change does not come easily nor quickly. Let the process work systematically. A needs assessment is a good first step.
- Planned change is preferred over unplanned change. Look ahead when you can and anticipate. Even in the face of sudden & unanticipated change, we have to change.
- Time is a resource and an important factor in the success equation. Use the gift of time and manage it wisely. Time is precious and limited.
- Advance planning, research, and sufficient resources are prerequisites for a successful transition. No shortcuts. Look beyond the nearest horizon.
- Some decisions require more time, thought and consideration than others. There are small changes that can make a big difference. Know and appreciate the differences.
- Multicultural awareness enriches diversity of perspectives, opinions and judgments. Seek inclusion and equity. Consider multiple possibilities.
- Patience, perseverance and problem-solving help drive progress. Bring your best effort and energy to the process. Find people with the necessary skills for the task at hand.
- Adjustment and adaptation to change need space and time for the process to gain momentum. Do not rush or push. Similar to Number 3. Rinse and repeat.
- Review, renew and reorder priorities periodically or as needed according to plan. Stay fluid rather than fixed. Pursue the open mind-set attitude.
- Goals can be adjusted when conditions change. Stay nimble, flexible and adapt accordingly. If one goal is reached, consider setting the next one.
- Resistance to change has reasons worth exploring in some depth. Seize an opportunity to learn from obstacles to change. Clear the path ahead.
- Designing, dealing with and doing change requires commitment and good work. When you experience the desired change, celebrate the results.
You can see how these “lessons” apply to both personal and professional relationships. Thanks to my clients over the past twenty years who have helped me learn as we worked together to effect meaningful change.
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