SARGIA Partners “BiggerMind Approach” to change
Why do 75% of change initiatives fail?
Change is an integral part of evolution, both at an individual and corporate level. People, the same as organizations, evolve by developing new skills and approaches that enable them to cope with changes in their environment. They learn to gradually abandon dysfunctional practices and adjust their behaviors to the expectations of their ecosystem.
But this is just the optimal scenario.
In real life, leaders from all industries seem to encounter and report the same challenges when it comes to change: regardless of the source of transformation, of the new technology, process or business model implemented, there’s always significant resistance from within the organization.
According to the Center for Creative Leadership, 75% of change initiatives fail because of resistant company culture. Neuroscientists around the world claim that this happens because organizations function like human brains, resisting change and relying on stability.
But why is that?
Social neuroscience explains that the reason lies in human evolution. Even more than food and shelter, social belonging was critical for our human ancestors to safeguard survival. Poor individual or group social standing significantly increased mortality rate!
Organizations form social environments that are critical for the wellbeing of their members. Changes in our working environment, significantly challenge our brains innate sense of stability. Our brains perceive change as threat and enter in a “fight or flight” mode as it’s often called.
According to Michael Wakefield, co-author of the book Leading with Authenticity in Times of Transition “Uncertainty can trigger all kinds of behavioral and emotional reactions from leaders and the people who are affected by the decisions of leadership”
This leads us to a key realization.
We consider the corporate ecosystem as a “logical, transaction-based environment”, but it consists of humans, of emotional beings.
And this is the key element that most leaders underestimate when dealing with change: the threatening impact that this has on their people.
How can leaders cope with transformation risks and what are the alarming signs that indicate that something is going seriously wrong?
The 4 typical stages of employee reaction to change:
- Denial: Employees deny there is a need for change and try to prove that the new method or solution won’t work. Leaders should approach this stage with what might seem like excessive communication.
- Anger: Employees complain, become bitter and blame others.
- Exploring: Employees try to negotiate favorable outcomes and offer alternatives to the proposed solution.
- Acceptance: Employees accept that the change is necessary and engage with the new solution or process.
5 Common change resistance indicators that any leader should timely notice:
- Development of silos to protect the “old status quo”
- Direct or indirect cooperation denial with key change instigators
- Breakdown in communication across functions and levels: Employees resist to accept that new procedures have been introduced and they need to follow them.
- Low morale: Employees feel demotivated to undertake new responsibilities and projects, as they feel uncomfortable with the new reality
- Decision making paralysis: Significant delay in employee decision making, due to different thought processes involved
10 Frequent mistakes that leaders do when dealing with change:
- They don’t have a clear transformation context and vision
- They try to impose the transformation by thinking: “I know this change will be for the better—everyone will just have to get used to it.”
- They are not open to thinking differently as a key requirement of operating differently
- They fail to abandon old approaches and “control mechanisms”. A new reality requires new operational models, mindsets and behaviors
- They don’t timely understand the new context’s breadth and dynamics
- They fail to consider themselves as part of the corporate DNA that is changing. They don’t see that they are the cockpit of the aircraft that is under redesign
- They don’t communicate effectively and adequately the transformation objectives, process and purpose to all employees involved
- They fail to safeguard employees trust and reliance on the process
- They don’t pay attention to employee frustration, feedback and distress
They forget to encourage active participation and contribution
Dealing with change with a Bigger Mind
A Transformation is a mind triggering game.
Whether willingly initiated or imposed, is poses a series of hard questions.
How can we safeguard that a transformation is properly initiated, monitored and implemented?
What can we do to make sure that our people stay onboard along the process?
What are the signs that indicate that we are not agile enough to successfully plan and manage it?
Let’s answer to some of these questions and realize what dealing with change with a bigger mind actually means.
5 Steps to safeguard your transformation’s success
Step 1: See the bigger picture
- Set the transformation context with a clear and higly aspirational purpose
- Visualize the desired future outcome and plan backwards, instead of thinking about the present situation and planning forward
Step 2: Create your strategic approach
- Build a strong strategic narrative that embraces and engages your people and key stakeholders
- Safeguard commitment and coherence, by presenting your transformation’s purpose in a way that makes clear sense to the people involved
- Define the transformation values and build a strong culture that supports the transformation’s purpose
Step 3: Define the begaviors that support it
- Align behavioral strategy with business strategy, starting from the top
Step 4: Develop the agile skills that safeguard success
- Develop your agile and complex thinking ability
- Increase the levels of agility within the organization, by encouraging creativity and empowering innovation and original thinking
Step 5: Create a Team learning culture
- Facilitate sustainable change by using brain friendly strategies to engage your people
10 Ways to get your people on board along the transformation process
- Create a clear vision for the future success and communicate it with confidence, passion and inspiration
- Try to separate the transformation initiative from current people performance. Present it as an opportunity to excel and not as a measure against poor current performance
- Maximize face-to-face communication and reiterate everything at least 10 times
- Establish open dialogue. Apply a marketing campaign approach to selling the transformation idea
- Have an empathetic ear. People need the ability to vent. Allowing people to approach and speak openly fosters trust and opennes
- Facilitate involvement in the project and encourage employees to offer their suggestions in a constructive manner
- Encourage collaboration
- Reward people for their dedication and acceptance
- Recognize and communicate the success of the transformation through ROI, anecdotal evidence, etc.
- Look ahead to future improvements on the change initiative and actively engage employees in optimizing it
The top 5 skills that any leader should have to successfully deal with change
- Complex problem-solving ability
- Proactive and future oriented thinking
- Emotional intelligence
What does dealing with change with a BiggerMind Approach mean?
To lead change by using the fullest of your brain capacity, while timely perceiving and benefiting from all surrounding stimuli and collective intelligence.
SARGIA Partners Services and their relation to BiggerMind Approach
Develop a Bigger Mind with mindfulness and purpose with MasterNousTM
A breakthrough program which enables leaders reframe and reshape the world they live and work in and become more emotionally resilient, mindful, courageous, adaptable, empathetic and open.
Develop a Bigger Mind with team learning with Leadership Team Alignment (LTATM)
A personal awareness, shared visioning and collaborative growth program that aligns team and individual behaviors & mindsets to the transformation’s shared vision and purpose.
Develop a Bigger Mind with a broader perspective with Leadership Agility (LA360TM)
A new age program, that enables managers to develop post-heroic leadership capabilities and drive transformation initiatives effectively by becoming more proactive, adaptable, collaborative and creative.