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Getting acceptance for change

Getting acceptance  for change
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Change, many say, is usually resisted by people. When someone tries to convince the other person to change, the other person always seems to find some...

In spite of all these programs and workshops, most managers claim that their subordinates resist changes. They thus call initiating and establishing a change much like climbing a mountain!

Change, many say, is usually resisted by people. When someone tries to convince the other person to change, the other person always seems to find some valid reason not to change. Organizations today invest a lot in trainings and seminars and workshops in order to inculcate a culture of accepting change in their employees. People attend these sessions and understand the concept of change and that they ought to be open to change – and they usually are! But as long as it is not this particular change that is impacting them! Thus, in spite of all these programs and workshops, most managers claim that their subordinates resist changes. They thus call initiating and establishing a change much like climbing a mountain!

However, what many managers do not realize is that effective managers and leaders still can get their people to climb the mountains. Not knowing the scientific and systematic method to do that, they keep iterating why the change is required and why they should follow it. As Eliyahu Goldratt and many others mention often, there are 4 potential reasons why an individual does not want to change:

Pot of Gold: The individual does not see any reason to make the change, to climb the mountain. There is no reason and nothing to gain and so no motivation to make the time and effort for the climb. To overcome this, the leader needs to find a “What’s in it for me?” for the individual and create a ‘pot of gold’ for them at the tip of the mountain. This can provide the motivation for the climb, though research needs to be done to ensure that the pot of gold is large enough to enhance the benefits of changing and make the individual put in the effort, i.e. by highlighting the advantages of making the change one can motivate an individual to work towards that change. Examples could be a higher pay or a better health or improved relationships, etc

Crutches: Though the pot of gold exists, sometimes people still do not attempt to climb the mountain. This is because they may feel that the risk and the effort to be put in to make the change are a lot and somehow do not seem to be worth taking to just to achieve that pot of gold. What if the risks result in loss of health or finances or relationships? With these reasons, most people may feel the crutches are too risky, and to avoid the threats of the change they also tend to avoid the change. An effective leader needs to reduce the risk and the efforts by making the path easier for the individuals and by helping and guiding them. Examples could be to minimize the risk by troubleshooting and taking care of some of the challenges

Mermaid: Everyone has their own mermaids that they love, that they grew comfortable with over the years as they lived next to the water in the valley. Now, to leave these and to start climbing the mountain, where mermaids cannot follow is not something most people may cherish doing. For someone used to being in a particular position, the benefits of not changing may seem large and so they resist letting go of them. An effective leader needs to find a way to satisfy the need of a mermaid through the available pot of gold and help the individual see the different solution in order to make them go through the change. Examples could be maintenance of pay, giving other benefits, creating other opportunities, etc

Alligators: Most people do not realize the threat of not changing. They are so intently focused on the mermaids present that they fail to realize that there are alligators biting them in the valleys. They do not realize until it is too late that if they do not change they may lose out on health or relationships or finances. An effective leader needs to be able to point out these alligators and their impact on and disadvantages to the individual and make them aware of the need for change.

Most times it so happens that leaders keep looking at the 4 quadrants for themselves and not really for the subordinates. Remember that it is not the advantages of the change and disadvan- tages of the non-change for the leader that is important but that for the subordinate. Also, many times while the individual may be looking at a mermaid, the leader is focused on the pot of gold and that creates a mismatch between the two. An alignment or a match in these can create a positive flow towards that change.

Understand the 4 quadrants for each individual… create a change advantage strategy!

You have the power!

Revathi Turaga is an International Trainer and Inspirational Speaker. http://www.revathionline.com

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