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Top 10 Ways to Embrace and Create Change in Your Organization

Dr. Iris Fanning

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Change is a wonderful, vital process and keeps organizations from becoming outdated. Instead of fearing or resisting change, it's important to learn about change and embrace the renewal change brings.

  1. The Two Compelling Reasons Organizations Change - Organizations are driven by two cycles of change: 1) The desire or philosophy to be the highest quality, best, first or leader in an industry; or 2) Painful circumstances such as high turnover, loss of revenue, loss of industry position.
  2. Change is Natural - Change is a completely natural process. It really is a renewing cycle for organizations and individuals. Reframe and rename change into renewal and you create more buy in.
  3. Change Follows the Bell Curve - Remember the bell curve from your statistics class? People in your organization predictably fall pretty close to the bell curve.

    You have 20-25% of people in your organization who are early adapters and change agents. They are visionaries, forward thinkers and influencers. Then about 50% of your organization's people will change with some training, good rationale and encouragement.

    Then you have about 20-25% who are the nay sayers, stuck in the mud, negative and unhappy people. They'll try to bring everyone down to their level.

  4. Focus On the Upper 75% - You will rarely bring the bottom quartile up with you and will spend a tremendous amount of energy addressing their negativity. Focus on the early adapters and the middle group and you'll build sufficient momentum to bring everyone forward.
  5. Organizations ARE People - Just as your organization is changing so are your people. Each individual is going through his or her own personal process of change. Remember that motivation usually involves: Recognizing people for their contribution; Power-even power over a certain amount of decisions; and acknowledging people for the strengths they bring to their work.
  6. People Need Their Hand Held (Temporarily) - No one wants to look stupid. When you're asking the people in your organization to change, they need a certain amount of training and a short time where errors are not penalized.
  7. Reward Curiosity and Alternative Ways of Thinking - If you value productive change in your organization, you need to reward curious questions and thinking.

    Often, simple acknowledgement or recognition can be enough reward.

  8. Make It OK to Respectfully Question How and What is Done - This one can be difficult for people who have a more controlling and power orientation to their personality style. If you want valuable, creative change then you have to value input. It doesn't mean a supervisor or boss will always use the new ideas, but it creates an environment where things can and do change.
  9. Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable - Any time we try something new, we feel awkward and uncomfortable.

    It's part of what it takes to change. It helps to reframe the feeling. Instead of feeling uncomfortable you could say you feel excited, jazzed, energized or renewed.

  10. Embrace Change - A simple review of new industries that have developed in the last decade will demonstrate that change is here to stay.

    Change is more rapid then any other time in history, change is not going away.

Copyright 2008, Iris Fanning. All Rights Reserved Worldwide. Reprint Rights: You may reprint this article as long as you leave all of the links active, do not edit the article in any way and give author name credit.

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