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Understanding Change Drivers in Change Management

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The actual drivers for change don’t often make headlines.  We talk about FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) and we talk about hour tactics of communications and training programs, but to really understand change and how your employees will react, you need a better understanding of the change driver.  ((This entire post was formulated after reading

When I was in a sales organization, one of the jobs of the salespeople was to identify the “personal win” of each buyer.  It wasn’t enough to have them understand the feature functionality or technology of the product.  There had to be something in it for them.  The same holds true for change management.  Resistance to change comes from FUD and unless you can figure out the underlying change driver, you’ll not be able to create true behavioral change.

If you want to analyze change in organizations, a good idea might be to look at the change drivers – and how people feel about it. That is one of the first things I do in organizations – I let people brainstorm about the change drivers which they think are important and let them rank them, discuss about them, express their fear about them etc.

Next time you are together with a group in an organization, just ask them a simple question such as “Who thinks that tougher environmental regulations are a threat to this organization? And who thinks they are a big opportunity?” Or “Who believes that the changing taste of our customers is the best what could have happened? And for whom is it the biggest nightmare?” This can already be a start of a dialogue which has the potential for a process which than in turn can shake and move the organization.

Let’s say for example your change is to deploy a new health and welfare program.  Employees in the old programs may have gotten used to it and not be pleased to go into a new process, have new physicians, and higher deductibles.  But lets say your change driver is that the company didn’t grow as fast over the last two years and you’re trying to cut costs as much as possible.  Employees will not be pleased to give up benefits just because you need to cut costs and obtain better profit margins.  Instead, if the company has been hemorrhaging cash for the last three years and is just trying to stay afloat, your communications messages will be much different.  In fact, you may not even focus on benefits as you’ll want your employees to understand the overall environment and you’ll be asking them for sacrifices beyond just their benefits – and you’ll be asking them to reach deep and help the organization.

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2 responses to “Understanding Change Drivers in Change Management”

  1. change management model…

    Have you read my change management model blog post? Usually applying those steps towards change are useful in any situation….