Yesterday, a bounty of wonderful comments were added to Steve Roesler's blog post: Change: Success Starts Before the Change Begins. They all revealed ways for the feasibility of a change to be increased by investing in relationships before beginning a change effort. The transformation of the mutual context makes the change appear less threatening, imposing and manipulative. People become more trusting, accepting, responsible and strategic when engaged in authentic relationships. They return the favor of getting trusted and accepted by leaders who take that as their responsibility.
As Steve said:
I wonder what would happen if we were all required--before asking for some kind of change--to clearly explain "why" it will be better and "relationships" required to make it succeed and endure? The rule would be: no action can be started until everyone says "OK, I get it". They don't have to think it's wonderful--just that it is well thought-out, has a business benefit, and there is additional clarity about the human factors.I've found in my consulting that changes become more feasible when the feasibility is formally questioned. Rather than assume the change will happen, I assume it won't until proven otherwise. I question whether it makes sense to buy-into the big idea. I wonder whether the right people will own it and follow through on the implementation details. I suspect there is a legacy of failed implementation from previous change efforts that dismisses the new change out of hand. I look for signs of the proposed change "killing the goose that lays the golden eggs", doing more harm than good and disrupting the under-valued heroics.
When an organization is allowed to question the sanity, validity and feasibility of the change, the members buy-into the process of finding a feasible change to create. They realize they have some say-so, control and power to use wisely. Their viewpoints become more comprehensive and long range. They consider more tradeoffs and see both sides of more issues. They stop opposing the change as a knee-jerk reaction and consider more alternative scenarios, criteria and combinations of intentions. They agree to disagree, see validity in opposing ideas and welcome diverse outlooks.
That's quite a change from "making change happen". I wonder if it feasible to stop imposing changes?