Since the start of the year I have been working with several departments that are in the middle of large scale change programmes.
Part of my remit has been to talk to staff to gauge how well the transition is going. In the majority of cases it has been clear that a lot of the cynicism and resistance from people is because they don’t really understand why the change is happening.
In William Bridges brilliant book ‘Managing Transitions’ he stresses the importance of starting with The Ending. If you want people to engage and support a transformation they have to believe there are compelling reasons to change and accept that maintaining the status quo is not an option.
So before you sell the vision you have to ‘burn the platform’.
Checklist for Managing The Ending:
- Sell the problem
- Accept the reality and importance of subjective losses and don’t be surprised at overreactions. When people are in the anger stage of the transition curve they will often focus on things that may seem unimportant to you.
- Make time and space for people to air their concerns – don’t defend, just listen!
- Give people information and do it again and again and again….
- Define what is over and what is not – be clear about what is going to change even if you do not know how it is going to change.
- Treat the past with respect.
“Great is the art of beginning, but greater is the art of ending”
– Lazarus Long