I’ve worked with leaders in change management for the better part of twenty years. I’ve learned much from my own experience and from observing others leading change. Some of my earlier lessons have been revised and I’m sure some of what follows will be tweaked over time, but here are what I currently believe to be the important realities of change:
1. All progress requires change but not all change is progress.
2. The easier the change was to create, the less important it was.
3. It is rarely if ever “back to normal.” Leaders know it is “forward to normal.”
4. Reactive and proactive are usually less practice than interactive; interact with the forces you don’t control to create the changes you desire.
5. If you aren’t making some people mad, you’re not leading change.
6. Followers fear the process of change more than the change itself.
7. We are more empathetic to how change affects us than we are to how it affects others.
8. Effective leaders couple key behaviors with the words they use about change.
9. Change needs to be sold, but that doesn’t mean that it should be made optional.
10. The ability to change faster than your competition is even more important than your ability to change.
Good stuff, Mark. I think #7 is something that many leaders would deny, but true.
re: #6 – I have found that investing the extra time to fully explain the why and how of change leads to much greater acceptance and success. You are correct, followers fear the process. If leaders put effort towards helping followers clearly understand that, everything else will go smoother.
Great list, Mark!