Category: Change Management

We Talk About Change Management, but What Does it Really Mean?

 

As I deliver so many motivational keynotes on Change Management, a question I am frequently asked is “What does change management really mean?” It is not so naïve a question. There are many meanings and many answers. For example, to a company undergoing a merger, change management to the CFO is often not the same thing as it is to the CIO or to the Vice President of Manufacturing.

Bart Perkins, writing for CIO’s online magazine (April 12, 2018) had several observations important to share on the topic of defining change management.

His observations about those in IT can apply to most any employee in any department:

“Many people view their value to the organization as being a good technical architect, programmer, or security specialist. When asked to take on a different role, they may become very uncomfortable…once they are no longer rewarded for the skills that made them successful, employees may question their purpose.”

If you would like, think of a marketing manager, quality assurance specialist or an accountant having to take on new roles and working with new people. When they are forced to leave their comfort zones, what will happen to the role they worked so hard to establish?

Another observation Perkins made on change management was, “Individuals must be willing to examine new information and adopt new behaviors and approaches. Since most people prefer the status quo, this can be difficult.”

Inertia

What is it about change management that is such a difficult process? As an inspirational speaker on the topic, I think I can sum it up in one word: inertia.

Many organizations undergoing a transformation quickly discover that prior to making changes, their employees are locked into a cycle of indifference, disengagement and fear. The fear, incidentally, often stems from an understanding that if employees were previously motivated to make changes at their initiative, they were often penalized for doing so. They may not have started out that way, they may have at one time been eager to make a difference, but over time they felt their initial motivation to contribute and participate was futile.

Change management, in all of its phases, requires employees to re-ignite and re-energize their vision. It is not so easy a task. In fact, it is a two-way street.

Overcoming inertia requires determination not only from individual employees but from the corporate or organizational entity itself. The organization that is undergoing change or has undergone change must reach out to their most valuable asset, their employees, to help. The employees must know that they are the difference; they are the change agents.

Neither is change management solely about organizational charts or the implementation of new technologies. It is personal. This personal investment does not happen by accident; it takes an individual vision on the part of the employee, the determination to make that vision happen, and the grit to work at it every day.

Overcoming inertia is the opposite of settling for so-so; it is the mindset of never being content with “good enough.” I know from both personal and business experience that there will be days when the change that is required will be difficult. I also know that overcoming inertia and never settling for apathy causes people and their organizations to soar. That is the true essence of where change management can take us.

 

Contact Scott Burrows, Inspirational Keynote Speaker on Change Management today, through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169

 

The Toll of the Takeover: Change Your Mindset

 

In delivering my motivational addresses on Change Management, I am often asked about the toll that mergers and takeovers have on the employees of the organization.

I view mergers and takeovers as paralleling the experiences I encountered after my two accidents. I went from being a competitive martial artist and Division I football player to a quadriplegic; from physically in-control of myself to fighting for my life in a hospital bed. During my extensive rehab, I had to find a new mindset. It led me to inspiring employees undergoing change in their organizations to overcoming the hardship they face in losing the familiar and the predictable.

The Fear is Real

In his 1987 book, The Employee Guide to Mergers and Acquisitions, Dr. Price Pritchett identified the fears of employees when they realize their companies are about to undergo takeovers. The fears include: uncertainty, ambiguity, mistrust, and self-preservation. During the takeover period employees are on-edge; they tend to not believe anything related to them by managements; and many keep low profiles, preferring to stay hidden and stay behind the scenes. I realized these behaviors were very similar to the patient who blames the world for their troubles, does not follow doctor’s orders for strength and conditioning, and essentially gives up.

There are much better ways to change the negative mindset when a merger or takeover is about to unfold. In January 2019, The Journal of Urgent Care Medicine presented a paper entitled, “Dealing with the Emotional Impact of a Merger or Acquisition.” Not surprising, three emotions set in throughout the organization: shock and numbness, suffering (as the full impact sets in), and what is called “resolution,” or as I like to call it, the “what are you going to do about it?” stage. After my initial diagnosis, I was first in shock, then I realized what the outcome could be and finally, what could I do to change my mindset?

While the fear is real, the ultimate outcome is up to every employee of the organization to either see themselves as “sick” or to overcome the adversity of change and accept that the best change agent is you. In accepting the fact that the takeover or merger is happening, there is the choice to blame anyone and everything on the takeover or to accept the situation and handle it as you would any growth experience.

It Comes Down to Positive Mindset

The organization Total Wellness Health outlined mindset-changing attitudes whether your organization is undergoing a takeover or merger or other sweeping changes. Among the most important coping skills to help employees manage change are using positive messaging – be optimistic about the future; develop positive relationships, especially with your new co-workers; be upbeat, even if others wallow in negativity; and always communicate with others in a positive way.

In managing change we each have a choice. Many years ago, while lying in a hospital bed, I was determined to have an optimistic vision of wellness and I worked hard toward that goal. A positive mindset is contagious and affects everyone around you. The best way to manage change is to be a positive change agent.

Contact Scott Burrows, Change Management Mergers/Takeover Motivational Speaker, through this website or call us at: (520) 548-1169