CHANGE IS HARD! So common sense dictates change is made as easy as is possible, which is the focus of this article.
COVID brought many changes, and training that I do was no exception. Pre-COVID work was onsite, i.e., in-person training. Now, I’m being introduced to a virtual classroom and the need to learn the Adobe Connect platform. I’m not the most tech savvy person in the world, so my immediate reaction was — damn! Then it got worse as the first couple sessions with the platform specialist were disasters. The instructor was proud of their knowledge and ran (not crawled) through content proudly announcing everything that the platform can do. Information overload! I didn’t care to know A through Z specifics as I didn’t even understand A. Just tell me the ABC’s of what I need to know as the presenter.
Categories of Change
There are three categories of change:
passive changes that occur over time like the 10 lbs. many gained through COVID, 2) forced change as I faced with the Adobe platform, and 3) planned change which is the content of this article. When change occurs all of us have three options as depicted in the illustration above (the percentage range tells the approximate percent of people in each of the categories).
As depicted in the illustration, I was left of the middle upon learning about the introduction of the Adobe Connect platform. The desired outcome is to move people to the right (including yours truly) because the critical mass in the middle can either move left and kill the change effort or right to implement the change depending upon what they see and hear.
You want to sell change when introducing new technology to your people instead of ordering it as Adobe Connect was forced upon me. People don’t like to be told what to do, but they like to buy, which is determined by the need for something new or wanting the item without needing it. All of us can fit our purchases into these two categories.
When introducing change in your organization people need understand the two “whys”.
1.NEED is simply based on the ratio of disadvantages over the advantages of the current situation. You want the disadvantages to be so extreme as to push the decision that remaining as is, is not an option!
2.WANT is created by the reversed ratio of advantages over the disadvantages so the decision is now I just have to have it! That’s exactly what happens upon purchasing an item that exceeds our budget. The magnetic pull is so strong, it literally sucks money out of our pocket.
Now let’s make introducing change even easier — structure those impacted by the change to help generate the two ratios that define the need and want. Doing so helps to create the necessary “insight” and “buy-in” that moves people to the right.
You’re right, the process to sell change has a price — time. And, yes, time is money. Ordering change can appear easier, but that too has a price. This price includes, among other things, the immediate spike in resistance which can slow the implementation because the morale to implement has been adversely impacted. Worse yet is people may sabotage the introduction of the new equipment.
I’ve been a supplier of leadership and organizational development for over three decades. As much as I wanted to order the prospect to buy my services, it wouldn’t work until the need and want ratios worked for me!
In conclusion, as the change agent in your company you’re going to decide whether to pay the price to sell the change effort or pay the price to dictate it. Be people-smart and sell it first.