“I’m sick of change. I’ve had change forced down my throat for five years now, and I’ve had it.”
“I don’t trust the people leading change at our company. If I trusted them, I’d feel better about the change.”
“Change just means a bunch of consultants making a bunch of money off a new process that won’t make a difference.”
These are a few of the comments I hear every day as an agent that drives changed behavior in companies. Some comments are made from fear, but most have a legitimate foundation built by leaders and consultants who don’t take into account the human side of change.
These people walk into an environment with pre-made tools shoved into a toolbox that has the name of their next client or employer plastered to the side of it. They strut around, mock what has been done in the past, roll their eyes at new ideas, and declare they have the answer.
Tools are pulled out and put on the table. They’re impressive. The charts have more colors on them than the 64-count box of Crayola™ crayons. There are so many lines on the graphs going so many directions it looks like they were drawn by a Spirograph™ (okay, I’m showing my age). Everyone at the table is exhausted from a lack of results and rarely have the remaining energy to understand the incomprehensible, so they reluctantly accept the new savior.
A negative perception of the change agent is created when a new process is announced, new behaviors are put on pretty posters, and the new leader or consultant says “Change is good.” He takes advantage of those who put the change into place, ensures lift by manipulating results, adds those inflated numbers to his resume and leaves within two years.
True change agents move things forward, make things better, and improve the lives of those employees that are willing to work hard and adapt. True change agents take into account the human side of its audience. If you forget the human element, people will go through the motions but they won’t commit to the change effort. Their behaviors will bounce back to their comfort zone as soon as the change roll-out is over.
I have found that to get change to work you have to:
“There is a great deal of talk about loyalty from the bottom to the top. Loyalty from the top down is even more necessary and much less prevalent.” — George S. Patton