Managing change is not easy, but it’s necessary to keep your company competitive. Change can be disruptive, but it also creates new opportunities for innovation and improvement. Understanding the processes that drive change can help you shape it to produce the changes that are needed.
One of the key issues to consider is how people experience change. When employees don’t understand why the changes are occurring, it can lead to resistance or push back. This is a leading cause of why so many change transformations fail to reach their desired outcome. Understanding how people go through the different stages of change is essential to driving adoption and commitment from employees.
There are several models to describe how and why people experience change. One of the most prominent is the model proposed by Kurt Lewin, a physicist and social psychologist. He used the analogy of thawing and changing an ice cube to demonstrate the process of change. Lewin’s model consists of three phases: Unfreeze, Change and Refreeze. The first step, Unfreezing, involves overcoming areas of resistance to change. It includes breaking down the barriers to introducing the changes, and it involves identifying the change sponsors and activating them.
In the next phase, people must be educated about the reasons for the changes and what the expected outcomes are. This is an important part of reducing the fear and uncertainty that often accompany change. This also helps to stop rumors and confusion that may be spreading. It is vital that all leaders throughout your organization fully understand the vision for change, so they can communicate it effectively to their teams.
Once people are familiar with the changes, they will start to embrace them. This is when the transition to the new normal begins. The energy and momentum built up in this stage must be sustained. This will require continuous education and repetition of the message. During this time, it is common for unforeseen events to arise and need to be dealt with on the fly. It is important to have a flexible plan for dealing with these events and to be ready to make adjustments on the fly.
It is also important to recognize that some people will not accept the changes, even when they are for the good of the company. It is essential that people receive support and help to move through the different stages of change, from the initial phase of indifference, to denial and finally anger. Then it is a matter of reversing the negative attitudes, educating individuals and providing them with positive examples of how to respond to change.
It is important that employees feel a sense of ownership over the change, and that they know what is expected of them once it is implemented. This will help them to resist reverting back to previous behaviors. This can be done by showing them that the changes are working and recognizing those who are successful in adapting to change. understanding change