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The Power of Sustaining Change

February 16, 2017

Every New Year brings a time for reflection on the year that has been and the year to come. It is a time when our clients look at what they want to achieve and so what needs to change to make that happen. These changes could be at an individual level such as a New Year’s resolution or maybe across the whole business.

Based on the number of New Year resolutions that get repeated year after year it seems sustaining change at a personal level is not that easy. When it comes to business-wide change, more than 70% of organisational change initiatives fail, according to Gallup’s article “Most Change Initiatives Fail – But They Don’t Have To”, by David Leonard and Claude Coltea. The article states the reason they fail is because:

 ·  they don’t focus enough on frontline managers;
 ·  they don’t focus frontline managers on the exact actions they need to take to achieve the desired business

The development of leaders in your business is one way to improve your business’s ability to implement and sustain change. It also makes good business sense from a financial perspective. One business we worked with was able to save over $140,000 as a result of the changes implemented by their frontline leaders while taking part in our leadership development programme.

There are many examples of how important change is to remain competitive and successful in today’s world such as the number of business closures we constantly hear in the news. Now more than any other time in history embracing change is vital to be successful whether you are a large multinational or a local business in Taranaki.

Tips to sustaining change at a personal level

From our work supporting individuals to make sustainable change through coaching, here are some handy tips.

1. Silence your ‘inner critic’. What are you saying about the change, identify ‘your inner critic’. Tim Gallwey, author and coach, states in his book “The Inner Game of Tennis” that it is not what happens on the court but what is in the player’s mind where the main obstacles are anxiety and self doubt. Ask yourself, “would I say to a friend what my inner critic is saying to me?”

2. Embrace the feeling of discomfort. Change can trigger fear. Understand what it is that you fear and what is creating the self doubt. Discomfort is normal during change, it is going to happen, it is part of being human, understand our natural desire to avoid discomfort which means we don’t change. Your fear triggers the fight or flight response and can stop the momentum for change. Recognise discomfort for what it is – a good sign that you are changing.

3. Do a belief check. Do you believe you can make the change? If you think you can or you think you can’t you are probably right. Is your belief based on fact or something you were told by a teacher or adult when you were a child? Some beliefs may have supported you in the past but are they supporting you now? Core beliefs are used by your inner critic in times of difficulty or stress so do a belief check to make sure they do support you.

4. Continue to learn. It is a basic human need to continue to learn and develop, and change requires us to learn something new. When we stop learning our learning muscles get weak, we stop looking for opportunities to learn and so resist change even more. So do it – stick at it and learn something new everyday as you continue to change.

5. Make goals and stick to them. Get started by making a realistic plan with small steps, tell others about your plan, celebrate progress at each step, review as you go. Remember to measure progress based on results not just activity and constantly review to make sure you are achieving the results you want.

Tips to implementing change successfully within an organisation

When it comes to organisational change, the number of books and articles available on the subject provide a good indication that there are no ‘five quick answers’ available that work for all businesses. However, there are still things you, as a business owner, can do to ensure you mitigate the risks to your business and can successfully implement and sustain change.

1. There are two types of change – know the difference: does solving your problem require fixing things to be faster, cheaper, better or is a totally new approach needed to solve the problem. Transformation doesn’t describe the future by referring to the past; it requires creating because it is something that has not been done before. Fixing versus creating is different and requires a very different approach.

2. Provide clear information: Keep staff informed about the changes you are making, why the business needs to make changes, what the outcome of the changes will mean for them i.e. what they will need to do differently.

3. Be consistent with your messages and actions: Explain anything that may be seen as inconsistent. Staff are always looking for signals that the change is a passing fancy or ‘now we can go back to normal’. They pick up any signal that they don’t need to change or that those who favour change have been wrong. Staff do not need much to nourish the seeds of doubt. Be alert to opportunities that may give them an excuse to do that.

If you want to know more about how we can support your business through change visit our website www.staplesrodwayhr.co.nz or call Judyne on 06 757 3155


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