Lake Consulting AG is your partner of choice to assist you with your corporate change. Together, we will set up a training plan adapted to your staff’s needs, and we will develop quality training so we can provide them with the best tools they need for your change to succeed.
Change is learned!
It is a well-known fact that our brain does not like change. You would have to say that it is more comfortable to maintain our old habits.
To illustrate this, let us do a little exercise. Start by folding your arms. Good. Now cross them again, but the other way around so that the arm that was underneath is now on top. You will notice that this position is uncomfortable. It does not feel natural. In the first position, you didn’t have to think about it. You just instinctively crossed your arms like you usually do. By contrast, the second position needed you to think about it more, because it is not part of your habits. Analysis has shown that during this exercise, the signal emitted by your brain actually comes from different areas of your brain.
Habits are deliberate and automatic choices. They represent more than 45% of our daily activities. Our brain is lazy and it doesn’t know the difference between a good habit and a bad one. Its aim is to automate our tasks, our thoughts and even our words to save our body’s energy.
When you crossed your arms the first time, it was your limbic system which triggered your action. This part of your brain stores memories and habits. The second time, though,
the message came from your prefrontal cortex. This part is at the centre of thought and planning. This is where any new thoughts or behaviours start. If they become a habit, we switch over to using our limbic system. For example, when we learn to read, we initially decode using our prefrontal context. Afterwards, our limbic system picks up the baton, making our reading quicker, less tiring and more fluent.
Change jeopardises our normal habits. That’s why it triggers resistance. Whether it’s a new role, a new boss, a new car, a new regime or a new routine, our brain has to make an extra effort to adapt to change. It makes us adopt new habits and it is this which makes us feel uncomfortable. The more deep-rooted a way of doing things is, the longer it takes you to develop new habits. However, you can deliberately train yourself to deal with change. The more you change your habits on a regular and frequent basis, the more you will be quick to welcome change into your private life and your work life. The next time you are faced with change, keep this idea in mind.
01/// YOU CANNOT OVERCOME EMOTIONS USING LOGIC
When we encounter change, we can experience anxiety associated with a fear of the unknown. At that point, other people can claim that this change is logical and beneficial, but that doesn’t help you feel more comfortable. Give yourself time to integrate what you are feeling. Be curious about knowing what is causing these feelings. Don’t judge your feelings, observe them. This is the first step on the road to being able to embrace change.
02/// IDENTIFY WHAT A CHANGE CAN OFFER YOU
Even when we know that a change is beneficial, we can easily resist it, preferring the comfort of our old habits. Take the time to identify what a change can offer you. Finding one or more positive advantages will increase your motivation tenfold and help you to embrace something new. If you cannot find anything positive, ask yourself what loss or negative outcome it might help you avoid.
03/// IDENTIFY THE OBSTACLES AND MANAGE THEM PROACTIVELY
A change necessarily entails an obstacle to one degree or other and this must be overcome to embrace change. You firstly need to identify it. It may be time, money or simply just life.
Secondly, you need to find a way to overcome these obstacles. Your creativity will be your best ally. There is a solution to every problem. The first step is to manage your obstacles because they will not disappear. You need to stick to the task. To help you, you could record your efforts in a notebook or even enlist the help of a mentor to assist you.
04/// TAKE A STEP BACK SO YOU CAN OBTAIN AN OVERVIEW
It is easy to look back with the benefit of hindsight and talk about growth, but when we are faced with change, it can seem discouraging. Bear that in mind when you are dreading an event. Think back to the challenges you have overcome in the past. The final outcome is often far from what you initially feared. Imagine how things will be afterwards to make your fears seems more manageable.
LET US CHANGE OUR APPROACH TO CHANGE
Have you noticed that when someone is talking about a positive change in their lives, they speak with enthusiasm and dynamism? Whether it’s training for a marathon, picking up an old activity again or learning a new skill, your plans for your personal change are expressed through extremely positive emotions. The change in you makes you feel empowered, energised and, at times, exhilarated.
Conversely, the association with the words ‘change’ and ‘organisation’ often give rise to very negative feelings. The present economic situation and our public mood mean that these two words are often perceived as being synonymous with redundancy. It has become very complicated for companies to communicate on these changes. The inten- sification of globalisation and technological evolution and other factors oblige companies to continuously adapt. Some people talk about ‘era of continuous change’. These perpetual, endless changes have become exhausting in our collective opinion, especially if we continue to think about change in the same way we always have.
WHY DOES CHANGE EXHAUST US?
We saw earlier that change makes our brain leave its comfort zone. If we add to that the fact that change may be imposed on us or may be badly planned or introduced at a time of crisis or just be cosmetic then we can easily understand why it is difficult to present it in a positive light.
Some managers often wait too long before reacting when faced with change. This has the effect of making a change urgent, a crisis even. People are then going to focus on short-term outcomes and not unite around the general idea of development but instead just seek to put out the flames. It is then difficult, impossible even, to introduce goals for the long term.
There are 5 strategic imperatives to help managers modify the way they approach change and that’s how exhaustion might be replaced with stimulation and a feeling of empowerment.
01/// INSPIRE PEOPLE BY THE GOAL
Change often has financial or operational objectives. Even if these can be motivating from the point of view of managing a company, they may prove to be less uniting from an employee’s point of view. To be motivating more generally, change must be linked to a more meaningful goal.
The LEGO group has become an extraor- dinary global company. It has undergone a series of changes under its highly competent management, all guided by its powerful objective: to inspire and
develop the builders of tomorrow. According to their logic, global expansion is not measured by the increase in sales, but by the access of an increasing number of children to LEGO bricks.
Consequently, investment and innovation was no longer limited to developing new products, but to enabling a larger number of children to learn through play using their product. LEGO members felt motivated by this objective and it gave their work meaning.
02/// INVOLVE EVERYONE
Change can be divisive or uniting depending on the way in which it is approached. When you work within a team or a company, the most important thing is to unite people around the same issues, the same values and the same objectives. If a manager is the conductor of the orchestra, the musicians still remain the glue holding the entire orchestra together. It is essential to involve everyone so that they all feel the change concerns them.
You will improve your chances of success considerably.
03/// GIVE PEOPLE THE RESOURCES THEY NEED DURING AND AFTER CHANGE
Before being able to rely on people to face change square on, you need to give them the resources to be able to do so. Change requires different abilities, different tools and different skills.
Kronos is a global software editor. It has had to adapt and offer cloud software. To enable its employees to adapt to this change in its service, it invested in new tools enabling it to discover its users’ favourite functionalities and its client satisfaction with that service. It also invested in developing skills so that its employees could solve their clients’ problems in real time. Lastly, and this is the most important part, Kronos increased collaborative behaviour to enable it to offer a seamless client experience from start to finish. These investments encouraged Kronos employees to feel spurred on and developed their sense of responsibility within the context of their new role.
04/// ESTABLISH A CULTURE OF CONTINUING PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
This is a question of creating a community of workers driven on by a ‘growth mindset’ with people learning and applying what they have learned but also sharing what they know with others. Nowadays, we believe (based on Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB) research) that about one company in ten has a real culture of professional development. This approach encourages people to open up their minds as well as independently search for knowledge.
A large number of companies are using their training budget, but are not fostering any real culture of professional development. This training is often motivated by concerns about compliance or meeting the standards. In a culture of professional development, people undertake professional develop- ment because they find it interesting and they are acquiring skills and knowledge.
05/// ADOPT AN INCLUSIVE STYLE OF LEADERSHIP
As we have already seen, there is a captain giving the orders and this captain must possess a road map, have a clear vision, prepare the ground, set the objectives and give people give a sense of responsibility in their role. They must also be inclusive. It is essential to prioritise people. They will only feel included and invested in their tasks if this is the case.
TRAINING: AN ESSENTIAL LEVER FOR CHANGE TO SUCCEED
There are many methods for managing change: the Kotter model, Lewin model, ADKAR model and many others besides. By following these methods, it is possible to bring about organisational change in a company. These methods all have one point in common. A stage which includes staff training and development.
01/// IDENTIFY YOUR TRAINING NEEDS
Training needs are going to revolve around two key as- pects: understanding and embracing change.
In the first aspect, training will address the issues which arise as a result of the change. Why is it necessary? What will be the benefits for the company/for the employees? Why now? What will be impacted? How much time will it take? What will the situation look like once the change has been introduced?
In the second, training must give people the tools they need to embrace the change. And for that, we need to precisely analyse employees’ real training need so that we can target the content of our training sessions better and secure a good outcome.
02/// LINK ADEQUATE COMMUNICATION AND TRAINING
The lack of information is a recurring cause of the failure of enterprise change. Appropriate communication must be set up. All forms of information and communication tools must be carefully listed and planned in a detailed communication plan. The aim of this communication will be to cover the primary training need mentioned above, that is, to explain the change.
03/// TRAINING, YES, BUT À LA CARTE TRAINING
Companies generally prefer face-to-face training ses- sions, but these are extremely expensive (training costs, travel costs, accommodation costs, etc.). Fortunately, digitisation now enables us to free ourselves from these constraints and train employees directly in their place of work. Even better, today it is possible to adapt training to users’ preferences, to their personal limitations and to their needs, because we all react differently when faced with change and this may imply different training needs. Some people will benefit from training on managing stress whereas others will need to improve their corporate communication. Training can take a vast number of forms: webinars, quick but regular question & answer sessions, micro-training sessions, social learning, videos, gamification, etc.