How Can I Get Things to Change Around Here?

January 16, 2023 9:00 am Published by

Change is difficult to accomplish – for individuals, groups, and especially organizations. While we can see the need for change, and want to help the organization (or our department) to function better, enacting change can be frustrating. In fact, there is a whole profession devoted to assisting organizations implement needed changes; they are called “Change Management Specialists (CMS).”

The critical question is: What can you do when you are frustrated about the lack (or pace) of change in your organization? I’m going to give you some foundational, beginning steps with which to start and then refer you to an article for additional actions to take.

1. Clarify your goal(s) – what results you want to occur – and distinguish them from your desired methodology. A lot of times we focus on some specific steps or actions we want to see implemented and confuse those with our end goal. For example, the goal may be for more clear and effective communication, but we are focusing on implementing a policy of no off-task behaviors during conference calls. You are going to be more successful in getting buy in from others on your goal (who doesn’t want more clear and effective communication?) than for a single, specific action. Also, clarifying your desired results assists you in evaluating whether the proposed (or implemented) actions move you toward your goal.

2. Assess other goals and activities competing for people’s resources. Sometimes timing is a critical factor in whether a proposed action plan is adopted or not. Trying to implement changes in procedures for the accounting department during the end of the fiscal year isn’t going to happen. Or, if management has just launched a new team building project utilizing a different resource, trying to implement the 5 Languages of Appreciation probably needs to wait. People and organizations have limited time, energy and financial resources, so sometimes waiting (and slowly introducing the concepts to key people) is the best path to choose.

3. Invest in the process personally before you ask others to commit additional resources. Modeling what you hope to see implemented with others is one of the best “sales” techniques. Conversely, trying to convince others to implement an idea you haven’t tried yet is a well-worn pathway to failure. If you want your department/division/organization to use the Appreciation at Work resources, using the book and the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory with your team first provides success stories (and lessons learned), which will help tremendously in influencing others.

4. Share a big vision, but start small. The more you can cast a large vision for the positive impact of the changes you want to implement (e.g. for all of R&D, not just your department), the more likely you will motivate others to engage – and probably hear from a skeptic, as well. Generally speaking, however, don’t try to enact the change across the whole organization (unless you have the authority and influence to do so). The vast majority of successful applications of the 5 Languages of Appreciation have started small – with one or two pilot groups, or just in one department where the leader wants to implement the concept of authentic appreciation. Others notice, see the positive results, and want to use the resources and process with their team. We have had several experiences where the change flowed organically across the whole organization after starting small with one group.

Regardless of your official position or role in an organization, you can help create change. Start where you are, with those around you, utilizing these initials steps.  Then, when you are ready, look at The Magic List: Secrets of Successful Organizational Change by my friend, Rick Maurer, who is considered internationally as one of the top experts in change management strategy.  You will find additional tips and tools to help you successfully achieve your goals for the organization.

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January 16, 2023 9:00 am

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