Management of Change – Latest research part 4 – Agility is the Key

Even those who fancy themselves the most progressive will fight against other kinds of progress, for each of us is convinced that our way is the best way.” Louis L’Amour (The Lonely Men)

In the last post, I talked about the accumulated impact of the change and that there is one driver of employee change that has the biggest positive impact in enabling change, Agility.

Agility is defined as: he state or quality of being agile. Agile is Characterized by quickness, lightness, Mentally quick or alert: and has its roots in the latin word agere, to drive.

The research talks about the fact that agile employees are more able to adapt to change because they themselves feel that they are in control of their own response to a changing environment.

The traditional approach to change in an organisation may go something like this:

A group of senior executives get together, normally on an “away-day” out of the office environment and review where the business is going; its plans and activities; where there are significant issues that need to be resolved. What happens next could be a committee is formed to look into the issues; or a task force; or a “hit squad”. Whatever the title, the outcome is normally, a set of recommendations and a plan is put to the executives; challenged; mulled over; reviewed; and finally, a set of changes are decided upon. Then, a senior executive, or maybe a group of executives are tasked with leading and driving the changes. They then start the change process, cascading DOWN the organisation the need for the changes. This is known as the “done to” effect. The employees feel as if they are the victims; completely out of control of their own destiny and in effect the object of the change.

In the Management of Change world that I am used to, it absolutely imperative to put the employee at the heart of the changes. You need to think from the employee outwards; to their managers; their peers; the customers they deal with directly; and ultimately the leadership teams interaction with them. This is the “Agility Approach”.

So how do you enable the employees to feel this way?

A personal connection with the employees; the peers of the employees all sharing experiences and learning from the change and putting the change in the context of the external world, not just an internal company view; really helps to have positive impact on the agility factor. The research concluded this section with the following statistics on percentage impact on change:

Leadership Confidence – 0.1%
Encouragement in the organisation to change: 2.6%
The context of the market conditions to change: 7.2%
Learning from your peers on the key changes and their engagement: 8.4%

The personal connection you have with the change: 11.3% impact

How you as a change agent can help effect the change is the next article in the series.

I leave you with a joke, an old one, but still funny:

A man is flying in a hot air balloon and realizes he is lost. He reduces height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts, “Excuse me. Can you help me? I promised my friend I would meet him half an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”

The man below says, “Yes, you are in a hot air balloon hovering approximately 40 feet above this field. You are between 46 & 48 degrees N latitude and between 52 & 56 degrees W. longitude.”

“You must be an engineer,” says the balloonist.

“I am,” replies the man. “How did you know?”

“Well,” says the balloonist, “everything you have told me is technically correct but I have no idea what to make of your information and the fact is I am still lost.”

The man below says, “You must be a Manager”

“I am,” replies the balloonist, “but how did you know?”

“Well,” says the man below, “you don’t know where you are or where you are going. You have made a promise which you have no idea how to keep and you expect me to solve your problem. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met but now it is somehow my fault.”

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