Those who follow me closely know that I have recently recommended that we forget about all change models for a while and let the client organization design the Change Journey. Today, I came across a nice and very simple 3 step change model: 3 Ways to Overcome Change (you will probably need to be a member of the LinkedIn Lead Change Group to see the original post). I am not sure who the author is but it says: Today's Management Tip was adapted from "Four Ways to Attack the Castle — And Get a Job, Get Ahead, Make Change" by Rosabeth Moss Kanter (which reads quite differently).
This is the short text of the post
People often react to change by resisting it, and smart change agents know that being aggressive only makes people increasingly defensive. Here are three ways to move around the defenses and closer to your goal:
1. Find another way in. If your change is rebuffed, try another tactic. Find out what matters to the people whose support you need and shift the focus of the change to take their preferences and goals into account.
2. Befriend people closest to your resisters. Make friends with administrative assistants, direct reports, or other people who spend time with them. These relationships often yield useful information and help get your ideas heard.
3. Go bottom up. If senior management is resisting your idea, start from the bottom of the organization and build grassroots support. With enough backing, you may be able to convince leaders to reconsider.
While I love simplification, I think we should Einstein's suggestion that everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler. In that sense, the three tips on how to overcome change are a bit simplistic for me. And, less because they are only three (I would live to come up with a 3-step formula for change).
A problem I have with these three specific tips is linked to the initial statement "People often react to change by resisting it..." to which the strategies are related (in fact the strategies themselves are not bad as such).
I believe that the main reason why change efforts fail is exactly this attitude of change managers: We have the solution (because we are smart), and the people are the problem. I would like to turn that around: People have the solution because they are smart, and the managers are the problem. Then, the three tips would read like this (finally while writing I have come up with a 3 step model!):
1. Find another way in: Create containers in which people can discuss what matters to them, to their working place, their team, their company, and the industry.
2. Befriend people closest to the champions and supporters and let them drive the change.
3. Go bottom up. In any case, start from the bottom of the organization and build grassroots support. Involve everybody, even senior management.