A common approach in change management speeches and presentations is to present the theory of change management, the steps to successful change transitions, and to assume that two people can receive the same information about a transition, and can be equally prepared to adopt/embrace that transition. And that the two people can equally prepared to employ best practices for leading or implementing transition. That’s simply not the case.
And, when I say this, I’m not speaking of being prepared with the information or talking points about the change, or the best practices/processes for leading change. These are certainly important. But, I’m talking about the head acknowledgment versus heart acknowledgment of change. You see, on some level, we all get that change is inevitable and we have to deal with it. In our heads, we get that. But, the emotions that well up inside most of us before a major change or transition, reinforce that, at the heart of it, none of us is every really “prepared” for change.
While we all approach change with varying degrees of anxiety, mandated change in particular, elicits resistance. And, I’m not here to demonize the resistance, to trivialize the barriers. No matter how positive a change, the barriers to that change are to be viewed as legitimate because those barriers are the stakeholders’ reality. As leaders, we can bring personal biases to the table—again, which can be legitimate—that inform our ability to lead through transition.
But, anyone CAN BE prepared to respond to change and to effectively navigate through change. In order to do so, it’s very important to not only understand the barriers to change, but the personal insecurities that change brings, and have a process to address them.
Only then can we lead effective transition, in which people who view and approach change from various perspectives can still participate in a productive transition and growth process, whatever their role in that process.