A short essay to stimulate your thinking…
“The truth is that change is inherently messy. It is always complicated. It invariably involves a massive array of sharply conflicting demands.”
Champions of Change, 1998
Leading during change requires courage and compassion: the courage to recognize that change, however painful, is both essential and inevitable; the compassion to recognize that the pain must be acknowledged and minimized to the extent possible.
Far too often, management announces a significant change in purpose, policy, or procedure and expects every employee to embrace the change from day one. Managers fail to recognize that they and the employees will go through a grieving process which generally impedes, and can often derail, successful change. For positive institutional change to be created, you must understand that each manager and employee experiences a transition from what has been to what will be. In Managing Transitions: Making the Most of Change, William Bridges defines the stages of transitions:
- an ending, followed by
- a period of confusion and distress, leading to
- a new beginning.
In challenging economic times, every organization has a small group of people who are critical to its success — current and future. This is a time for shared goals and creative solutions, not individual priorities and business-as-usual. The preference for the comfort zone of the “silo” versus across-departmental initiatives will decrease nimbleness, weaken commitment to working through and accepting change, and inhibit positioning your organization to survive the current economy and thrive in the future.