Mr. Hawkins, my fourth-grade elementary teacher, is the first person I remember who would use the phrase, “Nothing is permanent except change.” While this statement may indeed be true, change is still hard and often frustrating. For organizations, change frequently causes stress and increased conflict, typically resulting in decreased employee engagement and productivity. One might wish to simply avoid change, but Mr. Hawkins’ sentiment that I first heard in 1984 is still true today in 2019.
Therefore, if change is going to happen (which it will), it’s important to do change well! There are countless books and resources on how to do change effectively. At ACHIEVE, we even have two workshops dedicated to the topic of managing change. And in our newest book, The Culture Question, my co-authors and I focus a whole chapter on “How to Change Culture.”
At CTRI and ACHIEVE, we too are not immune to change. Recently, I have been communicating and sharing plans for a change in our leadership structure. I have been doing this verbally whenever possible, but many of our trainers are spread out across different North American cities, so I also had to write about the plan and rationale for the change.
In communicating about this change, I am trying to practice what we teach. From my experiences that include this most recent change as well as previous ones, there are two things I have learned that make change easier. One is to communicate the plan for change early, and the second is to communicate the plan often.
The next time you are faced with the need to make a change – and by the way, it’s just around the corner – I encourage you to keep these two principles in mind. It’s helped me, and I hope it will help you as well.
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