Imagine for a minute a change management consultant pitching her services to an organization threatened by a competitor or new technology. She tells her audience that the changes they want are indeed achievable and that she has the best tools, training, and technology for the job. She shows an outstanding track record of ushering in successful, enduring change. She has a team of smart people who can come in and take names; they have all the technical, financial, and analytical models; and they can help paint the picture of the change in language that people will swoon for. People will want to change.
She has these executives eating out of her hand. Theyre impressed with her and gobsmacked by her results. Everyone in the room knows change initiatives are hard. Why not go with someone successful like this?
Then she leans on the conference room table to the rapt attention of the team and says, You know, the one ingredient I dont havebut which I needis a commitment from each of you to change. I need you to model the behaviors youre trying to drive throughout the organization. You want to drive a nimbler, more cost-efficient business, and this will only happen if you model nimbler and more cost-efficient behaviors yourselves. So youll give up your assistants, and your people will see that youre keeping your own calendars and making your own copies and coffee. Youll give up your company cars and dedicated parking spaces; this will drive a shared were in this together attitude.
Youll also need to approach the change differently from those youve done beforethe ones that failed. Instead of deciding the change and foisting it on your people, youll listen to your people to find out the best way to meet your goals. And you wont tell people to change; youll ask them to come with you on the change journey. And before doing that, youll work on your active listening skills and your meeting management skills. You guys keep scoring horribly in these areas on your engagement surveys.