Herding cats

Directed change brings discomfort for most of those on the receiving end of the change – at least in the short term – and usually means their doing something wanted by someone else, rather than themselves.  This discomfort typically translates into resistance.  We, therefore, need to manage resistance by finding ways to motivate individuals to adopt the changes and adopt others’ desires and ambitions as their own.

An organisational-wide change arises from the sum of all the individuals’ change behaviours – and there lies a challenge. There is generally not a single, completely shared change journey, but multiple transformations, and so there is no single motivation or change process that will work.

It has been said that running a programme is like herding cats; shepherding individuals and groups and pushing them forward is difficult.  Of course, if you want the cats to behave ‘rationally’, the best way is to put ‘treats’ where you want them to go, and wait.  What then count as ‘treats’ for those who need to change?

Things to consider
  1. Have you identified what counts as ‘achievement‘ in the vision of the new world and any ‘natural’ rewards in the outcomes?
  2. Has the change initiative developed sign-post Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for use during the transition period?
  3. Have you modelled rewards in terms of pay, promotion and praise (non-financial reward? (Each ‘p’ has a major contribution to play in developing and embedding behaviours)
  4. Are the value systems of the groups that are to change identified and understood?

And are you considering

  1. linking jobs and roles to recognisably valuable outcomes
  2. replacing the KPIs for the change with operational ones after the transition – defining a profile over time that recognises the occurrence of learning?
  3. involving the adopters in the design of any new processes.