How Can Change Create Greater Creativity and Performance?

In my last article I talked about organizational change and the crucial stages of transition that create a more positive environment and greater buy-in. I received many comments about the essential ingredients for successful change, and it was enlightening and stimulating to see the thoughts that many are having about this. Our dialogue inspired me to expand more on each stage of change and transition in this article, with focus on intentional communication.

Stage I:  The Change: The Event

Often organizational announcements are made without any plan for moving through the process of letting go of the old processes and bringing in the new. Meetings with those who work together are essential during this time so that new methodologies can be created. Often these meetings are about rumors and fears without much planning involved. It is important that the leadership take time to make the necessary announcements about what will change, and what will stay the same, so that some of the fear can be acknowledged and addressed. Naturally the change will negatively affect some, so following through with these people when the changes take place is extremely important. Often at the beginning, and toward the middle of the change process, uncertainty does not abate because of the lack of communication. If a process for letting go and clarity about moving forward is intentionally directed, it can make a huge difference.

A clear example is an acquisition whereby a much larger company buys a smaller one and begins the process of melding the staffs, letting some go, shifting leadership and creating a new organizational model. This process takes time, but often the lack of communication and development begins as soon as the change has been made, resulting in confusion and an environment of fear. The need for clearly defining what will be let go and what will remain is very important to convey to employees at the beginning, but is typically not done. The processes for changing roles and behavior cannot begin until this is communicated.

Stage II: The Transition Period

As the change moves forward, the Transition or neutral period is the most important focus for successful change and is often neglected. There is a period of less activity and focus toward goals as the organization adjusts. The good news is that by giving permission to your team(s) to look for new ways of doing things and relating, leadership peers can take more time to create new initiatives for achieving results.

Intentional communication is necessary so that the adjustment period (Stage II) is an accepted change mechanism. During this period, as people adjust, it is important to have intentional conversations in order to create greater opportunity for innovation.

Stage III.  The New Beginning

The new beginning is more than just a new start because it requires that new processes and relationships are put in place and brought about through intentional communication.

This stage can only begin in full when the first two stages have been successfully implemented. At this point not every problem or issue will be resolved, but it does mean that the change is moving forward and requiring new behaviors for everyone.

Because of the continued, intentional communication and devotion to adjusting and creating new processes, new relationships are formed, geared toward implementing the new behaviors required to create new results.

If you are moving through the changes described, consider planning specific meetings with teams in the organization to clearly define what needs letting go, what adjustments are needed to move forward, and what new behaviors are needed, replacing the old. Leadership can only implement new processes successfully when everyone is engaged in the change, and given the chance to let go, adjust and create a new beginning.

Do you have a question, challenge, or success you would like to share? Please be sure to leave a comment. I would enjoy hearing from you! – Patricia