Seventy percent of change initiatives never work. They don’t deliver on expected outcomes. They don’t deliver on time. Some never even get off the ground.
Often, these initiatives fail because leaders driving the change have not accounted for how people will experience the disruption.
Change creates transition.
Transition is the process people go through in order to adapt to the change (William Bridges).
From the start of the change event to the arrival of a new beginning, we, as humans, are in transition. This in-between space is where the “mess in the middle” occurs. Uncertainty and confusion about the change causes strong emotions – including anxiousness, frustration, and fear – to stir. These feelings impact our ability to focus on work, interact as a team, and look forward to the other side of the event. We suffer through the experience.
At the height of the chaos, you and your employees may become burned out and disconnected. Your top performers will choose to leave rather than continue to struggle. The loss of their knowledge and expertise not only jeopardizes the change initiative, but also impacts your organization’s success long-term.
Successful change requires a human-centered approach.
A human-centered approach to change means intentionally planning for and supporting people through transition. It involves tending to the human side of change.
To do this involves steps that include helping people let go of what used to be, coping with feelings of uncertainty and confusion, and clearly defining what a new beginning looks like. Focusing here can help lessen the sense that people are jumping off a cliff as they go through disruption.
A human-centered approach to change can be especially challenging as a leader because you are experiencing the change while leading others in transition. That is why it’s important to first tend to your own well-being before you can be present and supportive for your team.
We can help.
3 Consulting works with leaders at three levels – individual, team, and organization – to create the conditions for flourishing through disruptive change. When the right elements come together in the right way, the experience of change will feel less chaotic and overwhelming for everyone involved.
A human-centered approach to change will ensure those within your team and organization can continue to connect with each other, think creatively, and focus on the future.