How much change requires respect from somebody is different for everyone. It begins with the small fluctuations which deflect the internalized routine. The desk that somebody cleaned up. The daily way to work that is blocked by a construction site. It is the modifications that make accustomed habits impossible. The introduction of a new IT system or the reallocation of tasks that require another approach, because the old ones are no longer valid. And then there are the fundamental upheavals which affect all aspects of life. The withdrawal from the current life, when one emigrates or leaves a previous career path. Notwithstanding of how strong the upheavals are, everyone has to react to the flux with a personal rhythm.
Since you get constantly challenged with different intensity, it is helpful to develop a routine that maintains the momentum of change until you get used to the new routine. You can use the following approaches and celebrate each with something special.
The first step
Change only begins when you actually set yourself in motion. The first step towards the new is crucial in order to start the change. Even if this first step seems small and insignificant, this quantum leap is the beginning, no matter how long the path is.
The first day It is worthwhile to celebrate the first day you have got through after the first step. Not having given up the ghost makes the first day an important step towards change. When you then recognize the first results, the continuation on the following day is guaranteed.
The first week After a week the first signs of the new routine arise. The new one has already been applied several times, even though it has not yet become second nature. The devil is often in the detail that is subsequently recognized and mastered.
The first month Depending on the scope, many aspects of the change are already known after one month. The road blocks of the first day are forgotten. A lot has been practiced, which can be recognized by the fact that the acquired abilities are no longer consciously perceived.
The first quarter After three months one is already in the everyday flow. The tasks are carried out routinely. The consistency of earlier procedures is replaced by the new skills and conclusions that now are available.
The first half-year After half a year one is completely acquainted. The own values and beliefs have been adjusted. The surprises that now appear out of nowhere, take place in any case, no matter how well prepared somebody is. Prior approaches become difficult to handle, because you can no longer get into the old shoes.
The first year After a year, the memories of the old have faded away. Old processes are difficult to reconstruct. The memories create an unpleasant feeling, because the new has proven itself. The next change is already apparent on the horizon.
Everyone has its own personal approach to transformation. This goes from just doing nothing differently, to any change is welcome. The rituals that you come up with to cope with change determine the difficulties you have to deal with. Since change takes primarily place in the mind, it is sufficient just to change your perspective. If one does not manage this, then the transition costs more energy than if one openly accepts the new.
Bottom line: The implementation of changes creates resistance by nature. Especially when those affected do not have the opportunity to engage mentally. It is helpful for individual patients to celebrate the metamorphosis. And not just once, but over and over again. In order to anchor the innovations in your mind in an appealing way, it is best to find you’re your rhythm: the first step; the first day; the first week; the first month; the first quarter; the first half-year; the first year. Over time, deviations become normal.
Common sense tells us that anything adapts to what already is there. Spheres, not cubes, come out of a sphere. In closed systems, it is unlikely that something new will emerge on its own. Except: energy is added from outside. The same is the case in human communities – working groups, departments, and firms. If something has to be changed, it needs a push to get momentum. From nothing simply nothing comes.
The following aspects outline some stimuli that the leaders can give in terms of energy supply.
The persistence in the existing of individual people needs a framework that provides the necessary space for the new. In an appropriate atmosphere that gives employees the chance to make things flexibly on their own, to cooperate across borders and to apply new ideas without any effort changes happen. The customer’s needs are adequately addressed that way. If then the willingness to try new things is encouraged by stress-free, fault-tolerant attitudes and openness, collaborative learning takes place. Thus, all are able to adapt.
Once you understand that the group creates many more opportunities than individual geniuses, you have to take care to put the team in the position to make decisions at the point of action. This requires that the relevant information is available and that, at the same time, all know that they can and are allowed to contribute positively as well as to plan jointly. This puts the team at the center – with all its objectives, distributed balance of power and group processes. The development of appropriate skills is crucial for the employees, as well as for the leaders, who must give up part of their ego. The contributions through participation of all members cumulate to a larger sum than the sum of individual results.
The interaction of many interests leads naturally to a wide range of solutions, which even contradict each other in the worst case. For this reason, conditions have to be created that reduce the divergence of the parties to a healthy degree. The well-known fish that stinks from the head has an important exemplary function. Above all, the desired manners have to be put on paper. This applies to the culture with its convictions, values and the collaboration styles, as well as for the established ways of making decisions and agreeing. To ensure that the described behavior is also put into practice, the executives have the responsibility to take ownership of their expectations and to continuously act accordingly. In addition, they affect personally the employees by consistently expressing the common perspective and by coordinating the involved people accordingly. The consistency of statements, behavior and decisions prevent resistance.
Eventually the clarification of the mission is the formal element in order to be able to cross the door to the new. The formulated snapshot of the future that describes the targeted final stations, shows the raison d’être of the company. Everyone will then develop its idea of the way to the destination. In the interest of joint collaboration, concrete milestones define reference points, which will again and again realign the forces to the common goal. The more the vision, the mission and the strategy are sharpened for the target group, the clearer they lead the employees. The formulated and accessible mission reduces the interpretation space to a minimum.
Bottom line: Even if the world seems to alter on one way or the other, change that is to be done more quickly or more fundamentally, needs efforts in advance. All those affected people must be able and be permitted to adapt themselves. Platforms for participation have to be created. All aspects of the business must be harmonized in a way that uncertainties concerning the right approach are avoided. And above all, a clear direction must be given. However, this has changed nothing yet. But without these aspects changes are almost impossible. Responsible for creating these basic conditions, which are an effort in advance, is the leadership team. Thereafter the actual change follows. From nothing simply nothing comes.