Leading Change is always a challenge.
You can flawlessly execute on an entire change plan and arrive at the final outcome thinking you have been successful… You congratulate your team and yourself. And move on to the next challenge. Then, slowly at first, the change you drove starts to reverse. It’s kind of like building a fabulous sand sculpture on the beach and then the tide comes in close, then closer, then eventually the entire sand sculpture is completely gone, and the beach will look like nothing was ever there.
How can you prevent this from happening?
I worked on a project, once, that involved a significant change for the business. My part was to take the organization through the entire Change Process. We did it. We were successful and things were going great… until, I slowly started to notice old behaviors appear again. Individuals started to undo the changes that had been made and re-build what was there before. The reason why? They didn’t anchor their change.
Anchoring change is actually quite simple; it just involves getting people to use the new processes as quickly as possible. If the change is about growth, get as many people as possible involved in new opportunities. If the change is about cutting costs and maintaining efficiencies, get as many people as possible involved in continued initiatives to streamline. The key is to not allow anyone on the team to think that the “storm” has passed and, now, we can “get back to normal.”
The new normal needs to be nurtured by having everyone involved. Soon enough, another change will come along and the team will desperately attempt to cling on to their new state of normal.