What if change management processes DON’T need to be hard?

Moving from confusion and chaos to simplicity and power

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn as a Jessica Kriegel newsletter edition. To subscribe to her newsletter, go here.

Working on finishing up significant research on #culture based on work we did with 240+ organizations. We found that the best type of culture for fiscal returns are “adaptable” cultures, defined by resilience and effective change processes. (But not constant pivots.) A lot more on this to come.

But the data is pointing out that adaptability is what you want from a culture, which is logical in such a fast-moving business ecosystem.

The logical next step for adaptability is #change and #changemanagement discussions, which can terrify people. We were all thrust into it during #COVID, and while that worked out for many companies (at least in terms of profits), a lot of the changes were uncomfortable for executives and employees alike, and we’re still dealing with the repercussions around #hybrid and #WFH discussions even now.

So how can we embrace change and adaptability more within organizations?

There’s a few ways to start thinking about this:

  • Promote individual flexibility in relevant forms: People will pivot more if they feel they have more control over their time, when they’re productive, when they do their best work, where they work from, etc.
  • Avoid the Action Trap: At CULTURE PARTNERS we talk about the micromanagement trap of focusing on actions, actions, actions — “Where is the deliverable, Charles?” — but not the underlying beliefs that drive those actions.
  • Stop assuming change is hard: Nick Tasler has a good post on Harvard Business Review from a few years ago:

In that article, Tasler writes:

Change is hard in the same way that it’s hard to finish a marathon. Yes, it requires significant effort. But the fact that it requires effort doesn’t negate the fact that most people who commit to a change initiative will eventually succeed. This point has gone largely unnoticed by an entire generation of experts and laypeople alike. I am just as guilty of this omission as everyone else. But now that we know the truth, don’t we have a duty to act on it? Isn’t it time to change the way we talk about change?

In a different article about running, Tasler also wrote:

We confuse the fact that change requires effort with the myth that success is unlikely. The evidence actually suggests that change is hard much in the same way that it’s hard to finish a marathon or learn a new language. Of course it requires effort. But the fact that it requires effort doesn’t negate the fact that the majority of people who commit to it will eventually succeed.

Indeed. So change your thinking about it a bit. Change can also be great for your organization. Adaptability allows orgs to stay alive.

Have a process: Here’s our shameless plug. Our CP process specializes in operationalizing change at scale.

We’ve also found that companies in full alignment of our process average a 44.9% change in revenue over three years, whereas companies with partial or no alignment average 10.7% revenue change over the same span.

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