When organizations undertake a transformation initiative, research shows these efforts fail 70% of the time. Transformational change requires individuals to behave differently. They should be able to accept it and be ready to surge ahead with it. You name their degree of acceptance and alignment as their Change Readiness. It is key to the success of the transformation at hand.
However, getting everyone on the same page and surge ahead with the same enthusiasm is a tough nut to crack. We are talking about people, each with their agendas, aspirations, fears, and beliefs.
This means that leaders must address how people think and act in their day-to-day work. They need to make a compelling case for change and serve as a role model who will inspire others to adopt new behaviors. Else, the change will be temporary, and the gains will fitter away quickly, leaving a sour taste in everyone’s mouth.
Not everyone receives to change the same way, so a ‘One for All’ approach will not reap results.
Therefore, the first step is to understand where on the change curve do people in your organization stand before you try to address their needs. And then follow up with an approach that works for them.
Nothing works better than looking at examples to understand something and devise strategies that work.
The most relatable situation at hand is that of organizations trying to figure out how best to respond to the changed realities post the pandemic. Both organizations and people within the organizations have reacted with anger, fear, and denial to the economic disruption and health impacts of the pandemic.
The way we work changed as everyone was asked to work from home, till we figured out a solution to this grave situation. Here are some of the responses from employees (anonymous):
"What is happening to humankind is really sad. Everything is locked down. My life is locked down. My career is locked down. God, what will I do?"
“This whole pandemic is going to doom our business and cost us millions. Why didn’t we see this coming? Who are these people who spread this virus?”
“This lockdown is painful, and everyone wants to get back to work and earn a living, but that's the only way to control the number of casualties.”
“This is what is happening, and we need to accept this reality. It is time to be proactive and respond with the right measures. We will be able to sail through if we act fast.”
Take a closer look, and you will realize that each response is unique and indicates a different level of acceptance to change. Looking at these responses through the Kübler-Ross Change model lens can help us empathize and strategize our approach to such scenarios.
Response Stage 1: As people are in a state of shock and denial, they will resist accepting facts at face value. As a leader, you need to initiate communication with your team members. To help them overcome denial, you must aim to listen to their pain points or beliefs, educate them about the changes, and be prepared to take feedback on possible strategies to deal with the situation at hand.
Response Stage 2: At this stage, there is still anger and fear, so you must give time and space. Watch them closely, listen to their concerns and build the support necessary to help them overcome their fears and calm their anger towards the unprecedented situation.
Response Stage 4: As people commit to rebuilding and recouping by putting their weight behind change initiatives, a pat on the back, appreciation, and even rewards go a long way in pushing their motivation levels up. Celebrate their effort, will, and outcomes. Ensure all policies, procedures, and general structure mirror the new changes and they’re adhered to. Continuously demand high standards and reward new behaviors. Look forward, not back.
Remember, as digital transformation initiatives are implemented, individuals go through change at scale- individually and collectively. A leader must understand that people do not go through a change in a linear, step-by-step fashion. They tend to move through the stages in random order and may sometimes even lapse to a previous stage after a certain point in time. Therefore, it is vital that the right strategies are tailored to meet individuals' needs as they cope with the changes necessary for a successful transformation effort.
People are learning to cope with something as tricky as a global pandemic with help from their community and governments. Coping with a digital transformation might be comparatively manageable if you have a strategy to help them cruise through the change curve strategically. Don't you think?
KNOLSKAPE is one of the fastest-growing experiential learning tech companies in the world. KNOLSKAPE accelerates employee growth and Development using an award-winning portfolio of simulations and in-depth talent analytics. KNOLSKAPE is a 110+ strong team with ofﬁces in Singapore, India, Malaysia, and USA serving a rapidly growing global client base across industries such as banking and ﬁnance, consulting, IT, FMCG, retail, manufacturing, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals, engineering, auto, government and academia. KNOLSKAPE is a global Top 20 gamiﬁcation company, recipient of Brandon Hall awards, and has been recognized as a company to watch for in the Talent Management Space, by Frost & Sullivan, and as a disruptor in the learning space, by Bersin by Deloitte.