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The little signs of change

Change is hard and messy.  It means shifting from one state to another.  At the heart of this is people.  Nudging them forward involves clear visioning, and change goals that land.

Change management goals

…. that resonate!

When we set change goals, they’re often set in a way that doesn’t appeal to people.   We may use hard metrics –  increase productivity by 25%, reduce costs by xxx%.   The data junky types love these types of goals.  They’re measurable.  They’re tangible.

For the rest, they’re blah.

  • They’re too far in the future.
  • They don’t resonate with people.
  • They don’t paint a picture of what people are moving towards
  • They don’t paint a picture of what you will notice people doing differently

Behavioural change goals

Any form of change is behavioural change.  It requires people to work in different ways.  To step out of the current, to shift mindsets around what good looks like.  Unlearn and re-learn.

We need to paint a clear picture of what people are moving towards as well as the ‘little signs’ that will show people are making progress.  Little signs like….

  • Talking to each other, rather than about each other
  • Questioning systems and processes
  • Speaking up about things that concern them
  • Stepping up to lead something
  • Accountability – self-accountability and holding others accountable
  • Sharing knowledge inside and across teams
  • Let’s give it a go’

Case Study

I caught up with the leader of a team I’ve been working with.  It was a six-month teaming journey.  The team had made big, upward shifts in how they worked together.

Things were going great guns.  Then a curve ball hit them.  The team were uncertain and anxious about the future.  I was curious “how are the team responding to this?”.  Then came the little sign of light that signalled change.  The leader said “we’re focussing on what we can influence, not what we can’t.  We’re also talking about the change and how we’re feeling about it.”  He paused “That’s new and different.  Before the teaming work we would have kept quiet, not talked to each other.”  There it was.  That little sign and insight that the team had shifted forward.

The leader then started talking about the need to spot signs of the team starting to go backwards, in a downward spiral, and to step in quickly and reset.

Back to the Little Signs of Change.

  • How will you know when your people are moving forward?
  • What are the first signs you will notice that things are changing?
  • What will your people be saying, thinking, and doing differently?
  • How will you celebrate, recognise and reward those changes?
  • How will you link the little signs of change back to the change vision?

Check out our two change programmes that help people, teams and leaders become change fit.  Our Navigating Change and Building Change Resilience for people at all levels.  Our Leading Change programme steps leaders through the nuts and bolts of effective change leadership.

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