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Letting Others Win Is The Best Change Management Strategy...

Let's face it.  Where you work is an absolute freak show.  If it's not a freak show, you ought to look around - because your company is milking a legacy position in your industry that feels comfortable today - but there's likely a nimble shop who isn't afraid of change that's getting ready to rip you up in the next 1-3 years.

Back to the freak show.  It's not a freak show at your company because you don't have good people. It's a freak show because that's the way business - and humanity - operates.  Your business can't invest in front of the need.  People are hopelessly flawed, gossipy and fully of flaws that make them human.

As a result of that, there's bad stuff that you have to deal with in your business. The point of this post is how you deal with that freak show goes a long way in determining what type of manager of people you are.

Here's the choices you have when dealing with change at your company:

1. Ignore it.  Always dangerous.  The default choice for a lot of people. The flaws of humanity will come for you on a daily basis.  The situation will decay.  It's like a zombie movie if you choose to hide - they more you ignore the problem, the more people (or zombies) are coming after you.

2. Deal with the change "Iron-Fist" style. This is better than ignoring the negatives of the chaos you see around you.  You see chaos and you know what can be done to deal with it, but it might mean bad outcomes for some of the people around you. Too bad - you've got a job to do and you know what needs to happen - so you tell people what the decision is and if they don't like the taste, they can leave.

3. Spend time having meaningful conversations with team members and let them find wins as you guide them to what the answers are related to making the freak show better.  This is the best choice.

When you look at that breakdown, it actually identifies personas for managers of people helping their teams deal with change.

The best managers take the time to listen and try to find ways for people impacted by change to win.  Sometimes it's a tangible win.  Sometimes the win for the people around them is that the manager actually took the time to listen and ask for recommendations related to what might work to make things better.

Letting the people you manage win related to all the change around you is hard.  You probably know the answers. It takes time to have conversations that make them feel like they win related to organizational change.

But taking the time to find those wins is really the only way you can make people feel good about change.  No one likes change. 

But change is the only constant related to that freak show that is your company.  The best managers understand that reality and spend the time - even if they know the answers.

Comments

Matt Landrum

And if you can decide ahead of time where you can let people win... awesome sauce.

Interesting how change management lessons and good "team" lessons look similar in areas. If we can just drop our egos for half a second.

Noah

There are many things that are more important to keep stability. A well written tip

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