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Leading Change by Managing Stability by Dave Jensen

04/22/2012 5:25 PM | Deleted user

Leading Change by Managing Stability

The soapy, wet rags slapped my front windshield as I drove into the carwash. Instantly, my 90-pound German Sheppard leapt from the back to the front seat. His big brown eyes screamed at me, "Dad, what's that?"

“It’s okay Comet." I stroked his head as the car darkened.

Within seconds those gigantic brushes attacked the car from all sides. Comet scrambled onto my lap, shaking. His eyes, glued to mine, cried “I’m not okay!"

I held him tightly, stroked his head, and sang our song, "That's our good boy Comet; Comet is a good boy..." He stopped shaking and calmed down.

Comet was able to handle change because I gave him stability. And the same is true for all of us. When we experience any change, researchers tell us that we tend to search for stability. So, instead of asking, "How can I get others (or myself) to change?" we should ask, "What can I give them (or me) to hold as I ask them to change?"

Communicate the Vision for Change
One of the best ways to help others feel secure during changing times is to communicate what the change is, why it’s important, and who supports the change. These issues were addressed by a client of mine in their Vision for Change document that I helped them write. At a recent Town Hall meeting, a few of their top executives highlighted key sections of this document in order to give everyone a bit more stability during their major initiative called,  Business Optimization Program (BOP).

What is the BOP Vision for Change Document?
The CFO explained that the Vision for Change document is collaboration among the technical team, their Organization’s Change Management (OCM) team (of which I’m the change consultant) and internal Change Champion Network (CCN). The document, she said, is a 10,000 foot view of the “what” and “why” of the BOP transformation. She also pointed out that the BOP Vision Statement, created by the CCN, is “Business made easier every day and every way!”

Why is the BOP Vision for Change Document Important?
The COO asserted that the Vision for Change document is important because it makes an excellent case that “the status quo is more dangerous than the change.” He highlighted a few of the scenarios in the document that demonstrate why many current inefficient processes can no longer be tolerated. He concluded by showing the last page of this document – the signatures of all the executive team members and vice presidents in the organization who support BOP (all of them!).

Who Benefits from Achieving the Vision for Change?
Finally, one of the VPs (and designated Change Champion) discussed a few of the many strategic and tactical benefits of BOP that are part of the Vision for Change document. She pointed out that BOP will provide:

  • Standardized and optimized business practices
  • Effective and efficient data retrieval/analysis for decision-making
  • Clearly defined system and process ownership and accountability
  • A transformation from being person-dependent to process-oriented

So, next time you feel like you’re on shaky ground because there’s too much change, look for something to hold onto. Maybe you can create a document that communicates what the change is, why it’s important, and who supports the change.  How surprised will you be that you can handle change because you manage stability?

Keep stretching when you feel pulled,

P.S. Dave Jensen transforms proven leadership tools into client success stories. Dave is an executive coach, leadership expert, and an engaging speaker at conferences, meetings, and retreats. He can be reached in Los Angeles, CA at (310) 397-6686 or http://davejensenonleadership.com/

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