One sure way to ensure Change Management fails is not to talk their language. Talk their language and Change Management Success is much more certain.
I often see change management fail because those having to change never really understood what it was all about. They failed to engage with the change sponsor because they didn’t speak the same language. I don’t mean literally one spoke English and the other Mandarin. I mean they didn’t share the same ethos, concerns or jargon.
Admittedly these three are totally different but all can lead to failure.
Ethos is an easy one. The senior team might well believe customer service is all important and decide to focus on it. But if the idea and rationale for it aren’t adequately shared failure is certain. For ethos to be a shared language it has to be seen to be lived by the senior team. For example if they say we should all make savings they shouldn’t then buy a company jet!
Another example of shared language is where finance talks about savings and cost efficiencies. Cost efficiencies is part of their language and if you explain your project in terms of the efficiencies to be made they will embrace it and share your change management purpose.
Sometimes you also need to speak the same technical language. Jargon is a curse if you don’t understand it but it was developed as a form of linguistic shorthand and has its place. Try talking to techies using plain English and they will lapse into techie speak and you will be at crossed purposes. So learn a few key phrase and use them in the right place and common understanding will prevail and success is much more certain.
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Change management can use league tables to reward or name and shame. Sometimes the carrot and stick approach can both be sued at different stages of the change management process.
To be able to set up league tables you first have to have KPIs and outcomes that can be measured. They you need to measure them and report back on the success or failure of individual sections or people.
You might start by recognising success and handing out “carrots” that reward success. People hate to be at the bottom of a league table so often respond by trying harder. Of course this isn’t going to happen when people oppose the need for change and more severe remedies are called for.
This more start with simple name and shame but a more sever but proportionate response may be required where this fails. HR advice is well advised at this stage. It is as well to ensure that the powers that be support any action you might take at this stage .. hopefully you are working very closely with them and have their full support.
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