In my previous post Meaningful Engagement vs. Buy-In: What's the Difference and Why Should I Care?, I posed two questions.
- “… why do we continue to manage change in ways that do not truly engage people and foster conditions where “meaningful engagement” can occur commonly?
- Why do we continue to settle for “buy-in” when we want and actually need much more?"
I suggested five reasons why many organizations settle for buy-in rather than aspire to meaningful engagement. I refer you to the previous post for the specifics (Buy-In vs. Engagement: What’s the Difference and Why Should I Care?). Briefly, though, I argued that buy-in more often triumphs as the objective of change management because it doesn’t require the same level of leader or manager commitment that meaningful engagement does. Aiming for buy-in just doesn’t demand as much time and effort and, in the end, expediency wins.
BUT, and it’s a big but, I argued that tacit buy-in doesn’t produce nearly as much commitment as meaningful engagement and the co-creation of change can. Done right, meaningful engagement in organizational change has the potential to:
- Strengthen everyone’s understanding of the need for and direction of change
- Deepen commitment to the change process and objectives
- Stimulate co-creation of solutions
- Build business literacy and other important business skills
- Accelerate the pace of change, and
- Propel the change beyond the envisioned outcome
In this post, we’ll continue this exploration of meaningful engagement and pose two additional questions.
- How does meaningful engagement produce more than simple buy-in?
- What are the dynamics at work?
Leading change is challenging enough even when your job title is President or Chief Executive Officer. However, when your title isn’t President or Chief anything and you lead in the mid-level of your organization, leading change is even more challenging. That’s because:
- YOU didn’t get to decide on the change
- YOU didn’t get to set the vision
- YOU may or may not have been involved in developing the change plan or the messaging
- But YOU ARE expected to execute the change for the unit you lead
What can you do to lead change effectively in the middle? Continue reading
Effective change doesn’t happen by accident. It is the result of careful planning and thoughtful execution. Leaders play a pivotal role in change because they possess legitimate power to authorize the change, establish the vision, provide direction and resources, and hold organizational members accountable. Everyone looks to the leader for guidance and that person must model the way for the rest of the organization.
Change would be a much tidier process if that were all it took – an effective leader who knows what to do and how to do it and is at the front leading the charge.
But as important as the leader’s role is, it isn’t the leader who ultimately executes change. Change (from simple to complex) is always a matter of people in impacted areas making the transition from the way things are now to the way they’re supposed to be in the future.
Transition at the people level involves, among other things:
- Answering their questions about why and what it will mean for them
- Describing how things will be in the future
- Helping them understand whether or not they will be in that future
- Involving them to co-create that future
- Providing a credible plan for moving forward that speaks to them at their level
- Communicating frequently and reliably about what’s happening now and what will happen next
- Learning new skills and applying new knowledge
- Becoming part of a new work group
How does this all get done? Who is leading the charge on this? More to the point, who should be leading the charge on this? Continue reading
People prefer stability. It may seem odd to read that as the opening sentence of a blog on the subject of organizational change, but let me say that again. People prefer stability. It’s part of the human condition. For all of the inevitability and necessity of change that we talk about, we actually prefer things to be stable and predictable.
When change occurs – and it always does - we find it disruptive. Exactly how disruptive a change may be is highly individual. The amount of disruption we experience is a function of how much the change affects our individual construct of reality – the routines, preferences, habits, patterns, and ways we understand things. As we all know, this disruption can range from minor inconvenience to the “sky is falling.”
It is axiomatic that the level of change management that must be applied to a change effort is directly proportional to the amount of change people will experience. If this is true, how do you assess the impact of change in order to plan for the level of support? Where do you look and what do you examine?