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Co-Creation: Misconceptions In Change Programs

Misconceptions In Change Programs:
PART TWO (Resistance)

A widespread misconception in the organizational development field is that people lack the ability or willingness to change. This misconception is a lens by which executives and managers are approaching change. If people are approached with the misconception that they are the problem and the issue that must be dealt with to make the change succeed, they will react with a natural, negative reaction. A negative approach to change will prompt a negative reaction from people, because they are forced to participate in a change they have not thought of.

A negative view of human beings bodes poorly for organizational change. This approach robs co-workers from the opportunity to participate in the creation of the solution, and results directly in resistance! It assumes people do not want change, and need to be motivated to make changes. A communication plan based on this approach may be well-constructed, but it will be centered on the misconception that people must be actively informed about and convinced of the necessity of change. This is the wrong focus.

Worst of all, approaches to change revolving around this negative misconception that human beings neither want nor are good at change result in the sense that urgency needs to be forced upon co-workers. Executives believe that this urgency is important for achieving a successful change. It implies that members of the organization will be unwilling to change until the house is truly on fire.

Paradoxically, the reality is completely the opposite. Change is something people are very good at and even take satisfaction from accomplishing. Individuals conduct changes constantly, and almost always successfully.

Within organizations, changes will be more successful when conducted through the process of co-creation. More brainpower will be applied to the solution, resulting in a better quality result. Since the people who must implement the solution are creating it, resistance will be minimized—in many cases completely eliminated. As they participated in the creation of the change, they will automatically want to implement it through the materialization phase.

Co-Creation Inspiring and Being Inspired

These co-workers often become ambassadors for the change and will do anything to make sure it happens. Issues or flaws within the design of the solution are dealt with by the team in a harmonious state since it is their idea. They are invested in bringing their idea to life successfully. The incredible power of co-creation is that people involved in the change are automatically co-owners of the idea. It is in their full interest to make the change a success.

The concept of co-creation explains the commonly heard saying, “People are willing to change, but don’t want to be changed!”

This has been a quick look at misconceptions in change management. In Part Three, we’ll look at the power of diversity in co-creation.

About the Author

Paul Brand is a management consultant working with global blue chip organizations such as Shell, Heineken, Sony, ABN AMRO Bank, Ahold, and EON. Evolving from an operations perspective, Paul’s focus moved into providing specific expertise on growing and nurturing the innate ability to change.

Paul leads organizations through the confusion of change management from “just another management methodology” to the understanding that change management is about the development of people. With his book, Change Your Mind, Change Your Business, Paul’s purpose is to dispel the common misunderstanding and even negativity surrounding change management, and how you can begin successfully applying it in your own environment.

For a free assessment of your own change management skill set, and more information about Paul’s book, Change Your Mind, Change Your Business, click here.

Co-Creation: The Secret to Preventing Resistance

The Power of Co-Creation In Managing Change: PART ONE

Change management initiatives within organizations concentrate on execution of action. The directive for change comes from the top down, and frequently results in resistance to that change. Another approach is possible, however: one that almost always results in a noticeable improvement in efficiency of the change’s implementation. By ignoring the enormous potential for improvement in the development of organizations by persisting exclusively with the top down initiative direction, executives are causing the organization to experience unnecessary struggles and failures. This can be corrected through the understanding and application of a few key organizational development principles.

Co-Creation, The Change Management Secret

Organizations are gatherings of people. This can be forgotten by executives who have adopted a mechanistic point of view. When the people of the organization are able to develop themselves successfully, though, the organization they operate within develops with success as well. The way people develop themselves can be termed the “creation process.” This process leads the individual from desire to realization, and is always at work. Even those who are unaware of the creation process do apply it.

The creation process consists of several phases. From the organizational development perspective, two phases are most important: Idea and Materialization. The first is the initial conceptualization of the idea. The second is the manifestation of this idea into reality. For example, if a person’s desire is to drink a cup of coffee, they must first imagine doing so. Then they can choose from different actions to materialize that idea into the physical world. Whether they walk to a café downtown or the coffee machine in the next room, they are materializing the idea.

Central to this law is the understanding that it is not possible to take action to materialize the result without first having had the idea.

Organizations Develop Like People Because They Are Made of People

It is here where top down-directed change initiatives in organizations fail. Significant issues with implementing successful changes are clearly now resulting from large organizations trying to get front line staff to materialize those changes without their first having shared the idea. When a small, select group of people thinks of the ideas for change, and then assigns the carrying out of those changes to a larger, different group of people who have not shared the idea, materialization is going to be troublesome.

From the law of creation it is apparent that taking successful, friction-free action on an idea which an individual has not thought of first is impossible. It is therefore clear why most organizational changes are doomed before they even begin. Most co-workers and managers who must take action on the idea have not been included in the creation of the idea. This common cause of failure in change management is logically the result of lack of awareness and application of the creation process.

It is now clear why large organizations especially frequently have issues with implementing successful changes. Since the law of creation is largely unknown its principles are ignored. The result are the all-too-common symptoms of problems in change programs: resistance with managers and co-workers, lack of participation in execution of change, and low quality solutions.

One could be confused into thinking these symptoms are the true factors of success or failure in change initiatives; however, they are actually indications of an ineffective approach to managing change. The discovery of the potency of deliberately applying the creation process to change is the understanding that people cannot participate in a change they have not first thought of—and that resistance is the logical result!

In Part Two, we’ll investigate some key misconceptions in change management.

About the Author

Paul Brand is a management consultant working with global blue chip organizations such as Shell, Heineken, Sony, ABN AMRO Bank, Ahold, and EON. Evolving from an operations perspective, Paul’s focus moved into providing specific expertise on growing and nurturing the innate ability to change.

Paul leads organizations through the confusion of change management from “just another management methodology” to the understanding that change management is about the development of people. With his book, Change Your Mind, Change Your Business, Paul’s purpose is to dispel the common misunderstanding and even negativity surrounding change management, and how you can begin successfully applying it in your own environment.

For a free assessment of your own change management skill set, and more information about Paul’s book, Change Your Mind, Change Your Business, click here.

Fixing Resistance In Change

Why Fixing Resistance In Change Has Failed—
And What To Do Instead: PART THREE (Co-Creation)

In Parts 1 and 2, we discovered that while change management has historically focused on smart ways to fix issues of resistance in change projects, prevention was a better solution. We learned from change management expert Paul Brand’s many years of field experience that prevention of resistance is best accomplished through inclusion via the co-creation process.

Resistance therefore altered in perception from being a ‘bad’ thing to being an indicator that co-creation laws had been violated and people were feeling excluded. They had not thought the thought, and therefore felt no involvement in the transformation. In fact, they frequently resented the intrusion from above.

Reduced Resistance In Change Management Comes From Co-Creation

Recalling the imagination and materialization steps in the creation process, the solution is to allow these stakeholders to participate in co-creative activity. As they participate in creation and materialization, resistance will dissipate. The only true solution is inclusion. Since those previously displaying resistance have been and remain highly interested in the transformation, they may even become ambassadors for it.

Looking closely at co-materialization, what occurs is a group of people transform the ideas they generated themselves into their reality. By whom, how, where and when are key factors to identify during the creation process. Working together to develop the plan is a requirement. Without doing so, actions will be assigned to people who have not thought of them—thereby violating the co-creation process.

When an individual has thought of an action that is even frightening or unpleasant, the surprising result is little resistance occurs. The action is now a straightforward thing to do. However, if sufficient resistance accrues against a specific materialization, the act of co-creation will determine another action to be implemented.

Resistance: The Blessing In Disguise

People can state that the desired results of a change project are unrealistic or impossible. Perhaps actions intended to produce a specific result have not brought that conclusion any closer. This can be frustrating, to the point where cessation of activity and questioning of the overall goal of the change may occur. When resistance is encountered blocking implementation of planned actions, it may be a blessing in disguise, however.

The blessing in disguise given by resistance is contrast. This contrast can provide indicators about where and how the creation needs to be refined to make it perfect for the situation. Clarity is key in change management initiatives. Instead of viewing resistance in change as a criticism, embrace it as input on how to optimize your change. View it as a welcome ingredient in the process of co-creation and successful change.

When friction and resistance is occurring between the executive level, line managers, and front line staff, co-creation consistently diffuses these symptoms. Should an organization that has traditionally conducted business through a top-down strategy suddenly and completely switch to a co-creative approach? Probably not. Gradual introduction of inclusion going forward is likely the best path of implementation. This is an alteration which should be made following substantial deliberation.

The idea that resistance in change is something that must be fixed, and that effort should be focused on finding smart ways to correct resistance, has been central to managing change. However, prevention is a better result and through the approach of co-creation the impact of inclusion will be felt positively all through the organization. This leads to much smoother implementations and transformations. Read more about Co-Creation here.

About the Author

Paul Brand is a management consultant working with global blue chip organizations such as Shell, Heineken, Sony, ABN AMRO Bank, Ahold, and EON. Evolving from an operations perspective, Paul’s focus moved into providing specific expertise on growing and nurturing the innate ability to change.

Paul leads organizations through the confusion of change management from “just another management methodology” to the understanding that change management is about the development of people. With his book, Change Your Mind, Change Your Business, Paul’s purpose is to dispel the common misunderstanding and even negativity surrounding change management, and how you can begin successfully applying it in your own environment.

For a free assessment of your own change management skill set, and more information about Paul’s book, Change Your Mind, Change Your Business, click here.

© Paul Brand