Management of Change – Latest research part 3 – Accumulated Impacts

“The rate of change is not going to slow down anytime soon. If anything, competition in most industries will probably speed up even more in the next few decades.” John P. Kotter [Leading Change]

In the last post, I talked about the impact of change and time that it takes to recover from the change. This post talks about the accumulated impact of the change.

Change is all around us, at work, socially and personally. The rate of change over the past few years has exploded. We have developed and deployed technology that is starting to significantly impact our daily lives. If you want to check out some of the key technology trends for 2020, got to:

The rate of social change, including the launch of social media platforms, mobile phones and the interconnected world is changing the way we fundamentally interact with each other. Think for example, about the last time you wrote a letter to someone; something our parents did all the time. Or, traveling with a bunch of teenagers in the car the other day, I was struck by the fact that they were quiet. Until I realised they were texting, instagram’ing and snapchatting their friends and each other….

Finally, work. Employees and work environments are changing so rapidly – to keep pace with the technology, competition and rapidly changing markets. Planning cycles that were 10 year plans, 50 years ago, having reduced to 5 years in the early 21st century, are now less than 3 years. Think about it for a moment; a multi-million “dollar / pound / euro” business has to fundamentally shift its focus and align its workforce in a new direction.

Fact: The average employee is now experiencing a significant change in the work environment every even months.

If you consider the previous article and the recovery time for a significant change is two years, you realise that there is an accumulated impact effect of the change. So, how do you as a change agent in an organisation react to this challenge? How on earth do you feel? It could feel to some as if there is tidal wave of change coming towards them; you either ride the change wave, hoping that you are good enough at balancing on the curve that you survive; or, the wave hits you and you drown. So what key things do you need to consider to be able to get up and ride the waves of change and which ones work?

Firstly, Driving Change: Responding to the change in terms of driving the individual, team, group or organisation to follow the directions of change – in effect, forcing the change upon them, has no benefit at all. In fact it is counter-intuitive. 0% improvement

Next, More Effort: The old adage of working harder does have an effect. It does improve the responsiveness of the change, but this can only be maintained for a short time. Think about running as hard as you can. You can only do this for a short while. Possibly a 5% improvement, but then it falls away

Finally, Enabling Agility: Support the people around you through the changes; actively seeking feedback and action upon it; learning from others and proactively adapting your efforts to the change have the biggest impact. The biggest impact with a 17% improvement and it sustains

How to put in place an Agility Strategy to support the changes is the next article in the series.