Sweating the “Small Stuff” About Change: It’s About People, People

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My father once told me that we are capable of achieving happiness, success, and peace of mind if we learn how to understand and address different people and situations. This sound advice, while intuitive and comprehensible, is challenging to apply. Why is this the case?

Entities are composed of various assets, namely their employees. When organizations undergo changes, so do their assets. Some examples of internal change might be:

· Decommissioning of a desktop application

· Shutdown of a manufacturing plant

· Replacement of employee badges with biometric authentication

Each example describes the outcome of tangible assets, albeit fictional, of change initiatives. However, employees use desktop applications, assemble products at plants, and access buildings. The outcome of intangible assets of change initiatives is just as important as the outcome of tangible assets of change initiatives.

The initial point of risk in change management planning is not being able to understand and address different people, namely employees, who will be affected by change initiatives. The large task of collecting and analyzing feedback from unique employees can be time consuming. Through this effort, however, repetitive insights and themes can be derived from qualitative input.

The task does not stop with data collection and analysis. Change management leads should also reconnect with surveyed employees to clarify repetitive insights and themes. Content clarification determines listening quality, a function of interpersonal communication that is not harnessed enough in personal and professional settings. When we acutely listen to others, we show that we care about their needs and requirements.

Through coordinated research and follow up activities with employees, change management leads can design and release strategic messages that understand and address employee issues while focusing on tangible outcomes. Upfront diligence with understanding and addressing different employees in an organization is a surefire way to achieve happiness, success, and peace of mind in the future.