The High Cost of Small Conflict

Deep Democracy Debate Tool drawn by Patricia Tiffany Angkiriwang

This article was originally posted on LinkedIn.

By the time I entered the room, the two sides were locked into position. One side was convinced that they had the answer. The other side wouldn’t budge from their belief that they were right. Each side was making their points, logically explaining the benefits of their approach, but the tension was rising and the frustration was growing. It looked like the meeting would end without resolution.

In the United States, polarization is on the rise. We tend to think of polarization in political terms, but the behavior extends to the workplace. When faced with a different point of view, people often dig into their perspectives.

Three Jobs of the Change Leader

3 Jobs of the Change Leader Image

The sixth in the Tried & True Series: Trusted Models that Stand the Test of Time.

Three things. That’s all you really need to do to be a successful change leader.

It’s surprising to think that the job could be so easy. After all, managing people, especially during change, is complex and dynamic.

Master consultant Stephanie Nestlerode distills that complexity into three basic tasks:

  • Help team members focus on what’s important and get rid of distractions.
  • Make sure team members have everything they need to do their work.
  • Share performance expectations and progress with team members.
  • It might sound simple, but don’t be fooled.

    Tuning Your Change Strategy

    Six Ways to Influence Change - JPG

    The fifth in the Tried & True Series: Trusted Models that Stand the Test of Time.

    Improve likelihood of change success by 10%? Sounds good!

    I’m a big fan of the work done by Grenny, Maxfield, and Shimberg on what makes change initiatives successful. According to their research, initiatives are ten times more likely to succeed when the change strategy includes at least four of six approaches.

    The trick is to address both people’s motivation and their ability. It’s not enough to want to change. They also have to know how to change. And they can have all the knowledge in the world but, if they don’t want to change, they won’t.

    Transition: The Human Side of Change

    Transition Infographic

    The fourth in the Tried & True Series: Trusted Models that Stand the Test of Time.

    Why can’t people just get with the program? They question, they challenge, they complain… and it’s all perfectly predictable and normal.

    Transition is the emotional process people go through when adapting to a change in their world. It doesn’t matter if the change is positive, like having a new baby or getting promoted. People still have to let go of some parts of their life (perhaps the luxury of sleeping late!) and learn new things (how to change a diaper while half asleep).

    The process is predictable, according to the work seminal done by organizational thinker and consultant William Bridges.

    SCARF Model: Anticipating Organization Stress

    SCARF Model Infographic

    The third in the Tried & True Series: Trusted Models that Stand the Test of Time.

    Have you ever felt that your life was in immediate danger? You might remember feeling a burst of adrenaline as your heart race, and you moved into action or froze in your tracks.

    Research shows that other situations, in which there is no physical danger, can trigger a similar response. This “fight, flight, or freeze” response decreases the ability to plan, make rational decisions, and perceive subtle social and cognitive signals. Unfortunately, these skills are needed during organizational change—just when people are likely to be triggered.

    Surviving Resistance to Change

    Resistance to Change Infographic

    The second in the Tried & True Series: Trusted Models that Stand the Test of Time.

    Most leaders encounter resistance to change. The resistance can take various forms. People can protest the implementation plan, the approach, your leadership, the font size used in change communications, and the decision to change in the first place.

    This new infographic on resistance highlights the work of three masters. Rick Maurer’s Three Types of Resistance is a classic method of understanding why people resist and how to respond effectively. Ingrid Bens teaches us how to have conversations about resistance in ways that work. The late Herb Shepard’s teachings offer wisdom from his years of work with organizations.

    Change Communications that Stick

    The first in the Tried & True Series: Trusted Models that Stand the Test of Time.

    Some tools never lose their value. The hammer. The umbrella. The wheel. These tools have been around for centuries and we trust them.

    We have similarly trustworthy, proven tools in the organizational world. The Tried & True series shares trusted models that stand the test of time in graphical form.

    For our first set of models, we’ve culled through the thousands of tools available on change. We’ve chosen seven that we rely on because they consistently do the job. The first of our tools is the Five Levels of Communication.

    The Change Journey

    The Change Journey Graphic

    Organizations still struggle with change. After all our collective years of experience and learning about change, it's still hard.

    Part of the challenge is that we still insist on using techniques that assume organizations are like machines. Get the right tool, technician, and process, and the results will follow.

    Is your strategy stuck in the 20th century?

    Image of "Is Your Strategy Stuck in 20th Century"

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