Building Engagement in Change

“The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.” Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890), Dutch painter

It is that time of year. Tax time. Taxes…an undisputed fact of life, joined only by death. I would like to add another ‘fact of life’ to the list of the facts of life:

Number 3: There will always be barriers to successful change.

However, this does not mean you should stop trying to bring about a needed change. Instead, try learning to identify and understand what those barriers may be; then, prepare yourself with strategies and tactics to deal with those barriers.

One common barrier is see frequently in trying to help an organization bring about change is building employee engagement in the change across the organization. How do you get people to embrace the change?

  • Communicate the WIIFM – What’s In It For Me? How does this change relate to my daily job, or does it? How and in what ways will I be affected by this change? Don’t underestimate the amount of communication needed to enable and support successful change.
  • Involve folks in the change as much as possible. It may slow down the uptake of the change, but it will help sustain change absorption. Identify the people / groups who will be affected by the change, and determine how to involve them in the change process. Find sponsors who are respected in the organization. Show these sponsors how you can help them and then ask for their support.

Don’t ‘remain ashore’ and not give change a try. More than once, I’ve seen my staunchest ‘No Change Here’ colleagues  become my strongest, most engaged supporters of a change. Just remember to have some fun and keep your wits about you!

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Sandra Schwan

Sandra Schwan

Managing Partner at Evolving Strategies LLC
Sandra is the Managing Partner of Evolving Strategies LLC, a consulting firm helping companies and people learn, adapt and perform. Sandra holds a Master of Science degree in Adult Learning and Strategic Organizational Change from Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Arkansas. Previous employers include the Corporate Executive Board, Lante Corporation, Kensington International, and Accenture where Sandra was awarded mentor of the year.

Connect With Sandra:
@LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/sandyschwan
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Sandra Schwan

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