Yesterday’s post on Hans Finzel’s book, Change is Like a Slinky, covered the first two of six main components of change: accepting change and aiming for it. Today we look at ‘anticipation’ and ‘attack’ in examining how we develop and implement changes effectively in almost any context.
3. Anticipate. A sense of urgency needs to be created to explain the need for change, even before making the change seem attractive. Change needs to carry its own compelling rationale and people need to see personal value in change. People may resist change because of fear or insecurity, but also if they don’t know there’s a problem or have no input into solutions. Opposition can therefore be disarmed with requests for help from others. Testing the waters for initial acceptance (‘beta testing’) can also help to get a read on how an idea is going. Innovators are among the first 6% to accept an idea, whereas the so-called ‘early adopters represent the next 10%. The ‘early majority’ and ‘late bloomers’ make up 34% each and the ‘laggards’ are those 16% who resist and may never come aboard. Since most embrace change, but at different rates, we can’t assume that initial resistance means eventual resistance. We must be realistic about what can be achieved and when.
4. Attack. Change well-researched and prepared must be launched with courage and persistence. Where there is fear or hesitance in us then we must do an ‘analysis of our paralysis’! Communication is critical and must then be constant: the big vision must be cast, concrete plans elaborated, tiny details enumerated, and doubt or grief legitimised. Real communication happens when people repeat back what they hear, so catchy axioms can help produce emotional buy in. If change is built into our DNA then we don’t just make tweaks, but actual leaps. This needs to be done confidently yet cautiously. People of all ages have hearts for change, but we need to be good at identifying those norms that are barriers to change and to differentiate these from mere emotional factors behind initial resistance. Criticism should make us stronger but we still need to take the truth from it about our personal weaknesses or blind spots. Coping with criticism may actually be easier when visualising the attacker’s world.
Tomorrow, we’ll look at the last two aspects of change implementation: adjusting and aligning.