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The 10 best Change Management resources in August 2022

01 September 2022

Many great articles, posts, podcasts, webinars, videos and memes were published in August about Change Management.

author picture Article written by Morten Kamp Andersen

The 10 best Change Management resources
in August 2022

This is a collection of our 10 favourite change management articles posted in August 2022. I hope that they serve as a useful resource for those interested in my passion, change management. 
 
So, in no particular order, let's get started…

1. DEBORAH ROWLAND, NICOLE BRAUCKMANN & MICHAEL THORLEY.
How to Get Your Team on Board with a Major Change

This article posted on Harvard Business Review by Deborah Rowland (on the 2021 HR Most Influential Thinker list), Nicole Braukmann and Michael Thorley is about how to get your team on board with a major change. The authors state that most change management has shifted from a simplistic, top-down, "create a vision, change the structure, roll out the new program, and get buy-in" approach to more emergent, empowered, and purpose-led approaches. But leading big, complex change is still a struggle — the rate of failure for transformation projects remains stubbornly high. The authors have seen both in their research and their work with clients that the missing ingredient is the ability to look for and work with deeper systemic forces. And they found the force that has the greatest impact on change outcomes is humans' primary need to belong. 
 
The authors present four strategies for leaders to skilfully attend to people's most primal need to feel secure in disruptive contexts; 1) Be mindful of your own emotions, 2) Identify what people are seeking to preserve — and why, 3) Lead difficult conversations and 4) Consider the prize and the price of change.

2. TIM CREASEY.
The Role of the Change Manager

Tim is Prosci's Chief Innovation Officer and a globally recognised leader in change management. In this article, Tim discusses the role of the Change Manager and gives an overview of how the change management job market has evolved to meet growing demand.
 
Prosci first conducted research on job roles in 2011 and found that 43% of the organisations participating in the studies had permanent job roles dedicated to change management. Over the last decade, that number has hovered at or above 49% on average. In terms of trends, research participants anticipate organisations focusing more on developing formalised internal roles dedicated to change management in a permanent change management office (CMO) or functional group. 
 
Tim discusses various aspects of the CM role. One highlight here is his look at what a change management professional does. In general, they:
  • Drive effective change management at the organisational level
  • Apply a structured methodology and process
  • Work with and through others in the organisation
  • Enable effective communication
  • Support training efforts
  • Apply interpersonal skills
  • Leverage experiences with change
  • Perform autonomously and flexibly in ambiguous situations

3. MICHAEL HALLSWORTH.
Making Sense of the "Do Nudges Work?" Debate

Michael Hallsworth is managing director, North America at the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT). He is authoring a really important and valuable article about the "Do Nudgets Work" debate. The concept of nudge has proved wildly popular in recent years. Since Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein published their book in 2008, over the past 14 years, hundreds of studies have been published that could be categorised as testing nudges. 
 
Back in January 2022, the journal PNAS published an attempt to combine these nudge studies into a meta-analysis. This analysis concluded that the studies had an overall effect size of d = 0.43. That's fairly substantial—it's about the same as the effect of interventions to increase motor skills in children or the effectiveness of web-based stress-management interventions. The study also cautioned that there was some evidence of publication bias. Recently, PNAS published a response to this study that went much further. It claimed that properly correcting for publication bias actually eliminated any overall effect of nudges. The short article is titled "No evidence for nudging after adjusting for publication bias".
 
If you are interested in nudging at all, this is a must-read article. Nudging has been hailed as the 'answer to all questions, which it clearly is not. But to dismiss it as having no effect is also wrong. Michael contextualises and finds a great middle-ground here. 

4. NICOLE DESSAIN.
Design Thinking is Change Management 2.0

Nicole Dessain is Chief Employee Experience Officer at talent.imparative. In this article, Nicole states that many organisations still follow the old paradigm of change management a la "I manage. You change." Some of the models that we still refer to in change management stem from the 1970s. And there is a lot written about the concept of change resistance, but it reinforces this old paradigm of change done to someone else. As grown adults, we don't like to be told what to do. Do we?
 
Instead, Nicole introduces a new paradigm. She states that it's time for a more human-centric change approach. That's why she believes design thinking is change management 2.0. It's no coincidence that one of the most quoted designs thinking books is Tim Brown's Change by Design. What if we applied service design principles and methods to the change processes and brought people along on the journey as change co-creators?
 
How might we use design thinking methods to drive our change efforts? Here are a few to get your wheels turning:
  • Identify key stakeholders
  • Immerse yourself in empathy
  • Use storytelling
  • Seek ideas from employees
  • Leverage motivational science
  • Highlight experimentation

5. WALKME.
Change Management Theories in Healthcare: Trends and Research

This is an extensive and great article by WalkMe - a company that accelerates the impact of digital transformations by driving user adoption - specifically about change management in healthcare. In many ways, it is a basic article, which goes through different change models and approaches, but what I like about it is that it tailors the approach specifically to healthcare. 
 
The article concludes with the question: What Is The Best Approach To Change In Your Healthcare Organization?
Healthcare organisations have many exclusive reasons for resistance to change. Examples of these factors are a complex matrix of competing internal and external stakeholders, embedded hospital culture, and a fear of technology taking away the human aspect of care. The change leader of a healthcare environment must be aware of the complexity of these factors when selecting and using a change management model. Balance is key to success in using a change management model to implement change in healthcare. Inspirational speeches by a transformational change leader are helpful, as long as the emphasis is on safe care. The ADKAR change management model can be beneficial if staff complete tasks in the daily clinical routine. When a change leader in healthcare keeps balance in mind, any chaotic and unpredictable healthcare organisation can be changed positively for the future, increasing profits, patient safety, and optimal customer experience.

6. CATHRYN DONEY.
How to fix employee resistance to change

This is a great article, which I like a lot. Cathryn Doney is a psychologist with a strong background working with people, organisations, and change. She is based in Australia. 
 
Cathryn starts the article off by stating (the obvious) that organisations increasingly need to adapt and respond to changes in the broader environment. Yet many of the changes that organisations implement do not achieve their intended goals. These failures diminish the productivity, innovation, and sustainability of organisations. To a significant extent, these failures can be ascribed to the negative attitudes of employees to change, sometimes called resistance to change.
 
The good news: three factors determine whether employees will support or resist a change.
  • Trust in Management: if employees feel they can count on their organisation's management team, employee resistance to change will be lower. Research has proved this across contexts and countries, including Australia, Greece, Israel, the Netherlands, Norway, and Sri Lanka. In her own study, lack of trust in management accounted for almost 50% of employee resistance.
  • Future Clarity: if employees have a good sense of what their future at work looks like, if they can clearly and vividly envisage it, they are less resistant to change. Her study found that lack of future clarity accounted for almost 20% of employee resistance.
  • Personal Resilience: Personal resilience—a composite of self-esteem, perceived control, and optimism also plays a role. Employees with higher levels of personal resilience show lower levels of employee resistance. In her study, low levels of employee resilience account for around 11% of employee resistance.

The bad news: managers can't change these factors directly. They must do it through "organisational" factors.

  • Resources:  employees need adequacy of resources to support organisational change, which includes having adequate staff, skills, systems, and processes to support the successful implementation of the change.
  • Communication: The relationship between communication may be curvilinear: that is, communication is absolutely vital to reducing resistance, but too much, or too little, too early, or too late, may have the opposite effect and actually exacerbate resistance.
  • Participation: Similarly to communication, this suggests a curvilinear relationship between participation and resistance

The final factor in their model of resistance was leadership style. Cathryn's research shows that a particular style of leadership called Paradoxical Leadership significantly reduces resistance to change through its influence on the organisational factors, which flow through to the personal factors, ultimately lowering resistance.

7. ERICA KESWIN.
The Hidden Power of Workplace Rituals

This article is posted on Harward Business Review by Erica Keswin - a best-selling author with her recent book " Rituals Roadmap: The Human Way to Transform Everyday Routines Into Workplace Magic". In the article, Erica explains how rituals can help to bring feelings to work. This is significant in times of change and is something we, as Change Practitioners, might learn from. 
 
In her article, Erica states that employees rightly expect to be able to bring their feelings — big and small — to work. One important way to provide that support is through rituals. Erica defines rituals using two important benchmarks. First, rituals go beyond their practical purpose, moving participants beyond transaction and into meaning. For instance, lighting a candle when the lights go out isn't a ritual, but turning off the lights and lighting a candle at sundown is. Second, rituals are sorely missed when they're taken away. The author presents a case study from a company that took a risk in real-time and created a successful response to a tragedy, and over time, that response became a ritual. Here's how they did it and how leaders can better understand their own rituals — both current ones and those that have yet to be discovered.

8. RELLY NADLER.
Managing Others in a VUCA World: Use Emotional Intelligence

Today, emotions are heightened, with anxiety, apprehension, fear, uncertainty, overwhelm, and worry. You and your team may be feeling some or all of these moment to moment. We have what the military calls a VUCA environment: Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity.
 
There are many unknowns and many feelings, and this is when people need their leaders to step up, connect, support, and soothe.
 
The author gives a number of strategies for how to manage others in a VUCA World. They include:
  1. Communication. You want to normalise, fill in whitespace, and acknowledge. This means to a) Ask people, b) Share your feelings, c) Remember to stay in their story versus stealing their story and talking about yourself too much, d) Normalise their feelings, e) Enhance clarity and f) Acknowledge the progress made so far.
  2. Empathy. Seek to understand before you are understood. 
  3. Teamwork and collaboration. Connect before you direct. We all have the human need to connect to others, even more so now with social distancing and sheltering in. So, ask about their family, their challenges, and the support they need. 
  4. Change leadership using threat-to-challenge and circle of influence.
  5. Development of others using MBQC and POWRR
  6. Conflict management

These micro-initiatives can have macro-impact. Boost your VUCA: Vision, Understanding, Clarity, and Understanding. Your team and family need you the most now.

9. JOHN KOTTER.
Can You Spot Your Influencers?

John Kotter needs no introduction. This article discusses the fact that the large majority of your change population will look to take its cues from the highly influential early adopters. Focusing on positively engaging this group of early adopters significantly increases the probability of success and hastens the pace of change. But how do you identify the individuals who are likely to be early adopters? How do you then proactively recruit them to champion the change? What characteristics should you look for – what behaviours should you encourage?

  • Willing to try, knowing you might fail. Individuals who have consistently stepped out of their comfort zone and challenged themselves will have experienced setbacks, learning how to operate in environments that have a probability of failure.
  • Relentlessly optimistic. The role of early adopters is to engage and excite people about the possibilities that lie ahead, even in the face of challenges.
  • Appetite to act in ambiguous situations. Early adopters don't wait for perfect clarity; understanding it slows progress and leads to missed opportunities. Embracing ambiguity and recognising that, in many situations, acting (and course correcting as needed) on a path forward is better than waiting to determine the best path forward.
  • Can play offence, not only defence. Leaders of change are able to prioritise upside opportunities alongside risk mitigation by appropriately accounting for the cost of missing out on those opportunities. These individuals consistently set aggressive targets and may have a history of big wins and some losses, as opposed to steady but unspectacular performance.
  • Curiosity. Probably the best predictors of the effectiveness of a change agent are curiosity and a desire to learn. Individuals who have demonstrated these by engaging in a variety of projects and taking on stretch roles are likely to have the inquisitiveness to explore and adopt change early.
  • Openness to diverse opinions. With a high number of input variables and the uncertainty in these variables, it is impossible to have all the answers when embarking on a transformative change. Recognising this limitation and being open to diverse opinions and perspectives is critical to playing the role of change agent.

One of the consistent surprises of our work is seeing who steps up to lead in times of change. Often it's people other than the usual suspects who yield the most impact, revealing pockets of leadership previously undiscovered in an organisation. Having the right people shaping the transformation, inspiring others and taking urgent action is critical to success. Finding the most effective change agents isn't a straightforward task.

10. PODCAST: CHANGE MANAGEMENT REVIEW.
Why It Is So Hard to Change Behaviour and How to Solve the Challenge, With Lindsey Agness

Changing an organisation's culture and the behaviours within it is one of the most difficult leadership challenges. Lindsey Agness and Theresa Moulton will explore why it is such a challenge and how to take practical steps to shift behaviour.  This podcast will deliver practical ideas and tips for behaviour change.
 

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Tune in and hear Lindsey's answers to questions such as:

  • What is organisation culture?
  • What are the drivers of organisation culture?
  • Why is it so hard to motivate staff to change their behaviour?
  • How does NLP contribute to making culture change more sustainable?
  • As a leader, how do you get started?
  • What lessons can I pass on to others after over 20 years in people change consulting?

 

 

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