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New Year, New You, New Organization: How to Change Effectively

Allyson Taft, Solutions Consultant at Amplifi

New Year’s Resolutions

With January over and the new year well on its course, how many of your New Year resolutions are still going strong? Did you even make any resolutions this year? What sets apart your successful resolutions from the ones that get thrown by the wayside? If you are like most people, very few of your resolutions result in meaningful change or personal growth. How, then, can you drive yourself toward the outcomes you desire?

  • Reject Goals. Build a System.

Instead of thinking in terms of “goals,” start reframing your desired change in terms of a system that drives you toward a chosen outcome. In order to build a system that works for you, you must first look inward and begin with an honest self-assessment. What are your strengths? When are you most likely to yield to the temptation of the quick and easy or the familiar? What motivates you?

Thoughtfully considering all aspects of your desired change and your capacity for change, create a proactive system that pushes you forward in the right direction. For example, instead of having a goal to “run a marathon by the end of the year,” choose to track your runs in a GPS running app four times a week. Choose to write down five reasons you want to run more often on any Saturday when you have not tracked four weekly runs. As you continue to build a system of behaviors that propel you toward a better version of yourself, you create a foundation for success.

  • Be Engaged.

Use the correct set of tools to engage yourself in your change initiative. Make it fun. Use apps, journals, fitness watches! Communicate your desire, your system, your progress, your success – to yourself, to others, to as many or as few people as you’d like. This communication and feedback will engage you in your change and keep it at the front of your mind, pushing you toward success and lasting change.

  • Measure Success. Respond Quickly.

Success begets success. Few things are as motivating as the intoxicating high of success. Harness this powerful force by measuring your success. Your system for change should track metrics that show your success in utilizing the system. You have absolute control over how often you utilize your own system, and by tracking your success in this area, you will be creating a self-motivating cycle. If you design your system well over-all, you will be getting closer to your targeted outcomes every day.

However, you do need to track your overall, objective success, as well. This will give you feedback on how well your system is designed. If you are utilizing your system effectively, but your overall success metrics are not changing, you must respond quickly and reassess your system. Perhaps your system needs a tweak. Instead of tracking four weekly runs in a GPS app, perhaps you should be tracking four weekly runs in excess of eight miles each. As you progress forward in your change, you may need to further tweak your system to keep up momentum or reach higher levels of success.

And it’s just that easy! Just kidding. Creating meaningful change on an individual level still takes a lot of work…which is why creating meaningful change within an organization can often seem downright impossible. Fortunately, the same broad principles (with a bit more structure) still apply and can get your organization started down the path to change today.

Change on a Large Scale

So how can these principles influence change on an organization-wide scale? Let’s dive in a bit deeper and take a glimpse at what that looks like in action.

  1. Don’t Focus on Short-Term Goals. Build a System for Long-Term Success.

When you set, even realistic, short-term goals as a New Year’s resolution (like losing 2 pounds a week, ditching meat from all meals at least 1 day a week, or attending 3 yoga classes a week), your ability to change your routine in a meaningful way decreases, as does your likelihood of sticking to your resolution, the first time you aren’t able to meet one of the goals. The same is true of organizational goals.

Instead, you should strive to set up a system that fosters the kind of change you are seeking. And, if you recall the many moving parts of an individual change effort and the frequency with which New Year’s Resolutions are forgotten, you will not be surprised that the importance of an honest self-assessment (again, the first step) is compounded by several orders of magnitude when implementing change in an organization. The number of people and moving parts involved necessitates and thorough and honest look into your organization.

Often it can help to bring in a 3rd party to conduct this assessment. In a major CPG company I worked with, several in-house assessments had resulted in an impasse, as business units could not agree on strengths and weaknesses internally.  Offering an impartial outside perspective helped these business units reflect honestly, and a successful change management system was finally implemented.

But, as important as your assessment is, it’s all for nought if you cannot design the correct system to execute against it. This means identifying resources, specific resources, to be involved. Choosing paths and cadence for communication. Selecting metrics to track, as well as the mechanisms for tracking them. Creating incentive structures and leadership training programs. Build a system that will drive your organization toward your intended change.

  • Be Engaged.

Today, we all crave validation. We want to be heard, we need to be heard. We want to feel like we matter. Use this and engage your end users. Make sure your end users know what changes are expected of them and encourage them to communicate freely with you.

One of the easiest ways to drive change within your organization is to get your employees to say out loud that they will change. As human beings, we have a natural desire to remain consistent with the image of ourselves that we portray to the world. Guide your end users to tell everyone they are the drivers of change, and the drivers of change they will be.

  • Measure Success. Respond Quickly.

All of the same principles that apply for your New Year’s Resolutions on an individual level hold true in a large scale change. Measuring KPIs that track overall program success will help you adjust your processes and system as a whole. Engagement and adoption metrics will help create a feeling of success and opportunities to recognize the change leaders in your organization.

And, when you ask your employees to change, make sure they have the necessary training and skill sets to be successful in this change. Enhance the skills of your change leaders to help drive other change initiatives in the future.

Change can be daunting on an individual level. Our best intentions are easily side-lined when we think only of our goal. Breaking down our goals into the true desired outcomes and assessing our individual strengths allows us to create a system for change. So how are your New Year’s Resolutions going? How are you going to re-evaluate your approach and guarantee success? How will you have changed by 2020? Will you leverage that successful approach to create meaningful change in your organization this year?

Sometimes, you need a coach to reach your goals. Amplifi’s proven, repeatable methodology and framework for Change Management have helped many enterprises experience sustained success. And, we can help you. Contact us today to set up a time to learn more about our Change Management offerings.