This article is part 2 of a series of 3 articles on the secrets to lasting change in your organizations. Catch up on Part 1 here.
In a previous article on the blog, we looked into the three secrets to creating lasting change in your organizations. This was a high-level overview to introduce you to each of our three secrets.
This new series of articles will explore each of them in more detail. Before we take a deep dive into the first one, let us remind you of our three secrets:
The answers to each of these secrets are the key ingredients to creating change that lasts.
In this article, we will go deeper with a more detailed look into the second secret, and how to embody it to further change.
The second secret goes as follows:
Developing ONE KEY HABIT will make your transformation real and engage people to make it happen.
One of the big problems when trying to create change in an organization is finding the time to work on it. The everyday reality of the workplace often takes over and people do not have the time to do anything.
More often than not, there is more to this than finding the time, it is a symptom of other issues as well. In many organizations, there is some sort of kickoff meeting for the transformation. This meeting occurs and then, nothing else happens for months. When this happens, people forget there is even a transformation going on at that moment.
The other common thing that happens is people see it as a separate project. Because it occurs to them as this separate side project, they perceive it as something else they will need to do one day in the future. They may not feel a sense of urgency, so they do not create time to work on it.
The one key habit we are alluding to here is incorporating the change in your daily work. This allows you to start getting the benefits of your efforts fast and encourages you to keep going.
One of the teams we worked with had 8 people in Montreal working with a group of over 200 people in Europe. The Montreal team started their transformation as a side project.
After a few months, the team expressed frustration that nothing was moving. They never had time to work on changing anything. At one point, we made the conscious choice to integrate change as part of the daily life of the team.
Our challenge was that we had to bring change in a way that would not shock or upset the European team. So instead of talking about transformation and creating noise, we made little changes. It often went something like this: "When you need this, can you please do it this way from now on."
Because we were delivering what they needed in a timely way, they saw a benefit to doing it. For the team in Montreal, it meant some tasks took a bit more time the first time we changed them, but they gained the time back later.
We spent six to eight months making little changes on real-life activities they were working on. This made working on the changes more relevant and timely as they would see the benefits fast. Over time, the accumulation of these small changes became their transformation.
There are different strategies you can apply but we encourage you to first focus on:
When you focus on the changes you and your team can work on, it helps build confidence. It will help your team to begin seeing change is possible. Having dependencies on others upfront which can cause changes to fail is not a good thing. It may even set you up for failure right from the start.
You may see transformation as this big thing and that is the nature of the word. The longest journey begins by taking those first steps and that is why you want to start with low hanging fruit.
What are some of the little things you can change that would make a real difference in the way you work? You know, those improvements that you NEVER have the time to do, but that you know would help? Now is the time to pick one or two of them and commit to them!
You want to focus on changes you can do in hours or days because you want to see quick results. When changes take weeks or months, they tend to drag on and people forget about them. Shorter timeframes allow you to see a result and tell success stories.
Remember that in the end, you will also do the changes that take weeks or months. The trick is to do them piecemeal in order to quickly put solutions in place. It may take you four or five short cycles before you complete the final picture.
Integrating change in your every day work is the key habit to make your transformation real. Seeing small successes and the benefits of the change fast will engage your people to make it happen.
Seeing transformation as a separate project often means your people will not find time to work on it. This is not ill will from your team, it is the reality of business life.
The main symptom that this is happening is the feeling that your transformation is stuck in the mud. The best way to overcome this is to commit to integrating change in your daily routine.
To do this, find the low hanging fruit. Focus on the tasks or processes where making a change will allow you to see results fast. For some of them, it may mean that they will take a bit more time than they take now. Consider it an investment you will recoup the next time you do it.
Focus on making smaller changes that take hours or days instead of longer changes. Sometimes teams fail because they are aiming to put in place the perfect solution upfront. Instead, what is a smaller potential change you can make that will make a difference now?
Integrating change into your daily work takes away the feeling that your transformation is a separate project. It actually makes the transformation more concrete for your team because:
This is why integrating change in your daily work is key to creating a lasting transformation!
Stay tuned for part 3 of this three-part series of articles.
How does your team treat your organizational transformation? What can you do to integrate change in your daily routine and see the results of your change quickly?