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Central Scotland | amackie@sandler.com

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Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change.

- George Bernard Shaw

Towards the end of the year and the beginning of a new year or perhaps at that special birthday we tend to reflect and make promises of change to ourselves. However, how often does that promise disappear into thin air only to be replaced by reasons or possibly excuses as to why we could not see it through?

At our recent Leadership training session, we asked our clients to come up with some examples of great change in their organisations and then to come up with some that did not go so well. The intention was to compare them and see what makes the difference between good and bad change programs. The interesting thing was that they found it so much easier to come up with lots of examples where change went wrong, did not get off the ground or started and then fizzled out. Finding examples of greatness seemed to be a much bigger struggle.

The reality is that change cannot happen overnight, we need to prepare ourselves for transition. The journey of change will be met with many obstacles and each one presents an opportunity to go back to the way things were. Things look different when we start to change and it feels odd, uncomfortable sometimes scary but it can also be really exciting.

To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.
Winston Churchill

Is having a good plan and being resilient the key to successfully driving change? 

During our class we discovered that it is just not enough - the academics, Gleicher, Beckhard and Dannemiller have all been attributed to developing change equations.

D x V x F > R 

Dissatisfaction x vision x first steps must be greater than the resistance to change.

How many times have you looked out the window at the dark and rainy winter day and said to yourself, “We should move somewhere sunny” … What stops you? The resistance to change is much greater than the vision of a sunny country or even the dissatisfaction of living with the dark, rainy Scottish weather. So you put up with it, moan a bit and do nothing to change it.

Ok, apply that to the work place. The same principles apply to changes in organisations. People will resist and fight a change where they see no benefit for themselves.

You might say that this is just the way it is… People do not like change.  We say it doesn’t need to be like that, however leaders often make many mistakes that make the transition process much harder than it should be.

Now that everyone understood the concept of the change equation, we asked our clients to come up with what they thought was the top 10 most common mistakes made by Leaders when attempting to make change happen; 

  1. Assume that telling the team what needs to happen means that they understand and have bought into it
  2. Do not take time to develop and communicate a compelling vision that will create dissatisfaction with the status quo 
  3. Do not allow individuals time to process the changes in their own way and understand personal impact – creating the 2nd meeting by the coffee machine to swap notes
  4. Expect everyone to be positive from day one
  5. Make it difficult to express anxiety or concern
  6. Do not define clear priorities, roles and accountabilities
  7. Do not explain the consequences of change (or not changing) in line with individual motivational factors
  8. Do not get input and ideas from the team – it is their way or no way
  9. Mistake delegation for abdication
  10. Forget to keep it real - forcing change creates resentment – including your team in the process as soon as possible creates engagement

We shared a number of Sandler change management tools and techniques to help drive and sustain change. Our clients are excited to try them out and we are looking forward to hearing how are they getting on over the next few months.

Perhaps you recognise some of those mistakes or maybe you are frustrated at the number of initiatives that get started and then get lost along the way. Worth exploring if we can help you?  Please get in touch with Lesley McLuskey by sending her an e-mail to  Lesley.McLuskey@sandler.com or phone 0141 353 6396.


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