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To dramatically increase the productivity of your business more than often significant change will occur. The key variables of change are people, tasks, structure and technology. People are critical to making or breaking any change initiative. 

How do People React to Change?

Letting Go >>>>>>>> Neutral >>>>>>>>>> New
  • Denial
  • Anxiety
  • Shock
  • Confusion
  • Resignation
  • Anger
  • Fear
  • Realise loss
  • Acceptance
  • Impatience
  • Hope/Scepticism
  • Relief/Anxiety
  • Excitement
  • Trust
  • Enthusiasm
Questions to be answered What is going to change for me? What will I carry forward? What is our identity?
What is ending for everyone? How do I feel? What is our purpose?
How can we mark the ending? Who and what can help me? Where do I fit in?
What should we celebrate?

What Steps are needed to Introduce Change?

Strong leadership, careful planning and effective implementation are needed to introduce change. The following steps should be undertaken when introducing change: 

Steps Actions
Think it through first
  • Develop a strong cause and vision
  • Be clear about your expectations
  • Analyse the forces for and against change
  • Involve people in developing the changes
  • Undertake a risk analysis
  • Determine what support needed from others
  • Decide what and how you will recognise and reward
Create a common vision and define the changes
  • Explain why change is necessary and important
  • Create sense of urgency
  • Detail the changes – what and how
  • Explain what the changes are intended to achieve
  • Explain the benefits to the organisation and people
  • Create sense of purpose, goal and pathway
  • Explain how the changes will affect people
  • Explain what things will look like after the changes
  • Communicate! Communicate! Communicate!
  • Frequent communication at every opportunity
  • Ensure consistent key messages from all levels
Address peoples concerns
  • Build trust
  • Balance between operational and peoples needs
Present a clear action plan
  • Use project management
    • Gantt chart
    • Milestones and measures
  • Commit resources
  • Provide people with tools and training
Create a climate of certainty
  • Show management commitment
  • Give the project priority
  • Keep your promises
  • Be persistent
Build momentum
  • Build a critical mass of supporters
  • Seek early wins and visible successes
  • Align measures, recognitions and rewards
  • Publicise successes
Monitor progress
  • Provide timely feedback
  • Visible objectives and measures of progress
  • Recognise, reward and celebrate progress
  • Don't assume success too soon, it's a long journey
Follow up
  • Take corrective actions

Creating a "Critical Mass" of Supporters

You need majority support for a change process to be successful. When something new is introduced around 10% of an organisation are likely to be early adopters who would like to try something new, have been waiting for change and will actively support it. At the other end of the distribution curve, around 10% of an organisation may be laggards who may actively resist change. Sitting in the middle are 80% of employees who are (fast to slow) followers, who will "wait and see" before actively supporting the new changes. 

The job of leadership is to focus on getting the 80% of "fence sitters" to become active supporters. The steps and actions detailed above help to do this. The process may be accelerated by identifying and involving "key people" and informal "opinion leaders", who are looked up to and bring their followers along. 

How can you Motivate your People to Change?

Leaders have sources of legitimate, coercive, reward, expertise and referent power. Good leaders use these sources of formal and informal power to influence, motivate and get things done. 

Some motivational factors are maintenance factors that must be kept at a satisfactory level to avoid de-motivating employees. Other motivational factors can create inner desire and include different social needs for affiliation, power or achievement. 

Maintenance Factors Motivational Factors
  • Work conditions
  • Company policies
  • Job security
  • Pay and benefits
  • Relationships
  • Supervision
  • Achievement
  • Recognition
  • Job itself
  • Responsibility
  • Advancement
  • Growth
  • Status

By far the quickest, simplest and best motivator is to frequently thank people for their successful performance and desired behaviour, using the BET technique. 


Describe what you have observed the person do


Explain the positive effects of their behaviour for the organisation, others, you and them


Thank them!!! (To encourage and motivate them to continue the positive behaviour)

The effectiveness of this simple act of saying "thank you", properly and frequently, is often 

Why do Change Initiatives Fail?

A number of common reasons have been found for failed change initiatives, these include: 

  • Poor leadership
  • Top management not fully committed
  • Lack of direction and focus
  • Effort concentrated at the bottom
  • Applied as a short term fix
  • Loss of excitement when not an immediately success
  • Did not demand organisational reform
  • Poor problem solving skills
  • Failure to recognise how to integrate with other functions and processes
  • Delegates to "expert" rather than "real" people doing the job
  • Develops a bureaucracy
  • Appeals to faddism, egotism and quick-fixism
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