Why do we put so much emphasis on the stages of change?
If you are familiar with the Managed Change™ Methodology you know we put considerable emphasis and effort into addressing the Current, Delta and Desired State and spend a lot of time in these three elements of the project.
The goal for each stage is to determine the following:
- Is the reason for leaving the current state a satisfactory and motivating reason to leave it as seen by the various people impacted (the targets)?
- Is the desired state agreed to by senior leadership going to trigger resistance in any of the groups impacted?
- What could exist in the delta state, the state of transition from the current to the desired state, which would make it difficult for people to move toward that desired state?
1 - CURRENT STATE
The business leadership makes a decision to change because of some legitimate dissatisfaction with the way things are today. Even when that decision is made thoughtfully with sufficient data and careful analysis of ‘why we can’t stay here’, the logic behind it, the level of urgency to leave it must be understood and accepted by the entire target population. Many times from where they sit in the organization the impacted can’t see that logic and/or urgency. What they do see is that what they are doing, the way they are doing it, which has earned them job satisfaction and strong performance reviews over the years is now being criticized and threated.
The Change Management Practitioner must work to help translate the reason for the change reached at the senior management level into a strong and acceptable argument for change on the part of all the various target populations.
2 - DELTA STATE
A group of people impacted or an individual may accept the need for change and be anxious to achieve it, to embrace the desired state and be equally anxious to ‘be there’. But they may still have considerable resistance, sometimes sufficient to threaten the change because of their fears and concerns about the actual change effort, the transition, the implementation, the delta.
There are many reasons for this fear. Let’s examine two major ones:
1 I can’t concentrate on changing AND do my day job. But it is my day job I am measured on. My performance review will be hurt if I put too much time into changing.
2 Which change do you want me to focus on? Your team is not the only one asking me to change. If you don’t all get your act together I will have to pick one and the rest will not get my attention. Or, there are so many of them I am going to ignore them all.
The Change Management Practitioner must recognize the validity and possibility of each of these existing and do the work necessary to help make the fears and concerns of the targets about these resistance sources diminish or be eliminated.
3 - DESIRED STATE
Again, leadership chooses a future or desired state that they believe is best for the company. They look at the company in the future, perhaps even operations or division or locations in the future, but seldom do they look at the day-to-day job of the individuals impacted in that future.
Those individual looks at the proposed future state not from the outside in but from the inside out. First: what will my job, my world look like? Then, my department or operation or location? And finally, my company?
The Change Management Practitioner must help management define the future state down to the individual role/responsibility and help the targets to understand their role and how and why it fits into the larger desire state.