A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to speak to a group of 350 CFO’s and financial professionals. It was an interesting challenge to build the case for leading change in terms that financial minds would embrace.
One of the components built into the presentation was a list of “famous last words.” These are phrases leaders have said to me over the years about changes in their organizations. When I hear any of these phrases I realize the leader has not fully grasped a critical change reality; all change is individual and individual change is essential to the bottom line. This means that in the absence of individual change the bottom line suffers.
So, the famous last words are:
“The rollout was a success”
Unfortunately the rollout of a change does not guarantee benefits will be achieved. Rollout only ensures the change is properly installed.
“It’s under control”
There is no control. You can influence the human aspects of a change but you cannot make someone change. This does not mean you are powerless. Your power is found in facilitating individual comprehension, commitment and capability rather than directing people to change
This is not true. Even if you think you have fully communicated you have not. People hear selectively when change is occurring and so repetition is essential.
“It’s no big deal”
Leaders say this because often the change does not directly impact them. Consequently it is easy for a leader to minimize the individual impact of a change.
“It’s not personal”
Yes it is. Even though organizational changes are not intended to be personal the impact is almost always personal. All change is individual and so there is no way to change anything without personal impact.
If you find yourself uttering any of these phrases, stop! Remember, the benefits of any change depend on individual migration through three key stages. People need to comprehend the change, commit to the change and be capable of succeeding in the changed environment.
This video shows a portion of the presentation mentioned above. If you would like more information about leading change please send a note to firstname.lastname@example.org.