From The Change Navigator’s Diary

“The secret to successful change lies beyond the visible and busy activities that surround change. Successful change, at its core, is rooted in something much simpler: How to facilitate change with one person.” ADKAR: A Model for Change in Business, Government and our Community by Jeffrey Hiatt

I’ve spent 4 months in my new role as Change navigator. What have I learned? Let me tell you my story.

I believe that change in our company is needed and that’s the reason I took this job. Our local “work style” should change regardless of current global corporate effort.

We are locked in service/project silos. Project is the only world we know and so we are reinventing the wheel from the scratch in every chance we get.

We are locked in our profession silos (project managers, programmers, tester, business analyst, etc.) and common team’s goal is constantly diminishing and during the year has to be repeatable reanimated. How to keep focus on client’s needs and produce value, especially when it’s an internal client we are dealing with?

Our tech leads and manager became leaders from day to day but sometimes they don’t feel that they have enough experience to lead the teams. How to switch mind from “blaming mode” to “problem solving mode” and how to lead people by the example?

How to change organization that has already survived couple of failed transformations in its own history and people simply lost faith that another change program can move things forward?

How to change people’s thinking when the sense of urgency is not tangible and global transformation is not even close to day to day operation and it’s present only as a ppt presentation?

First, I’ve learned that change process has its own rules. You cannot skip key stones like awareness and desire. You need to be sure that people are fully aware of the fact why is change neededand they desire to actively participate on change process and they do it because they know the answer on question “what’s in it for me?”.

If you skip these two steps and you start with “selling” knowledge and with trainings, then you should expect resistance and failure. It’s what we got.

Second, my dear domain managers, group manager or managers in general. You are leaders and people are watching you. People see not what you are speaking about, but the things you are doing. And people are smart. When they see, that your speech doesn’t match with your actions, then they stop believing change is really needed. As Jeffrey Hiatt pointed out, the biggest influence on employee engagement in change process has not change navigator or CEO, but direct supervisor, because she/he decides about employee salary, career path and trainings.

Managers don’t have time to actively support change process, because they are busy. And they are really busy, because their supervisors have also certain expectations. How can manager actively support change process and how can she/he lead by the example when his/her supervisor didn’t include the “role in change management” as one of performance goals? As a result change management became a “free time” activity, pushed to periphery (of mind and interests).

Third, people resist the change. Yes, that’s normal. According Mike Cohn, these are the top reasons why people resist change and it is also 100% overlapping with my experience:

The top reasons for resisting change, as given by employees:

  1. Lack of awareness
  2. Fear of the unknown
  3. Lack of job security
  4. Lack of sponsorship

The top reasons for resisting change, as given by managers:

  1. Fear of losing control and authority
  2. Lack of time
  3. Comfort with the status quo
  4. No answer to “What’s in it for me?”
  5. No involvement in solution design

Fourth, my work has a character of the cross team or cross project and so I have realized how many smart and talented people are working in our company and I didn’t know them until now! These people are contributing to the business value to our client on day to day basis. But how they are contributing to our company in Cracow? We are locked in our small project worlds and we are leaving these capsules on a very rare occasions. And we have so much to offer to each other! And I am speaking not only about knowledge and good practices, but mainly about friendship, personal culture and values. We need to start and drive couple of cross team initiatives in order to wake up our company spirit, which is now sleeping somewhere in the bottle.

So, these are my four notes, my lesson learned which I took during 4 month as Change Navigator. I didn’t have any idea about my new role at the beginning. But now, after some failures and little successes, I learned a lot and my perspective is rather positive.

June 2016

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