When people ask me to describe our change management model at LRI, I tell them it boils down to three principles.
1: Focus on the First Five Percent
What you do to gather champions, set expectations, how extensively you engage stakeholders, and how well you paint a picture for people of the decision-making process will go a long way toward guaranteeing a successful outcome.
Let me emphasize the importance of engaging many people early on – those who will be affected by the decision and those whose expertise can help. Even when ideological stances are strong, early engagement is always the better approach (as opposed to shutting people out of the process).
2: Focus on Defining the Root Problem
Solutions don’t matter unless you define the problem correctly. We emphasize a systems approach. Too often people say things like: “We need better products,” or “we need more sales, or “staff isn’t working hard enough,” without looking at the reasons why. Very often, the answer lies in looking in the mirror – at what you’re doing or not doing. One systems approach is to look at the organization’s core values – the things essential for its success. You can make tough decisions look easy if you ground them in well-understood core values.
3: Find a Good Guide
An experienced guide can set the tone, keep an open mind, identify key issues, articulate points of agreement, and keep things moving. A guide should be able to offer models and examples from other organizations. The courage to handle uncertainty and adversity is also important, along with a healthy sense of humor. Good, experienced guides are hard to find. But they are absolutely essential to our model.