8 Principles in progress-focused change
Progress-focused principles and techniques are not only useful in individual conversations and team facilitation processes but also in facilitating organizational change. Here are a few principles I propose for organizational change.
- Share decision making / work as participatively as possible: change is acceptable when people feel that they can (at least partly) influence or even determine what the change is and how it is shaped.
- Provide clear rationales: explain goals, rules and decisions clearly (and as frequently as the situation requires). People can identify more easily with the change when they understand what the importance and expected benefits of the change will be.
- Use the progress-principle: the factor which may be most motivational in work is the feeling of making progress in meaningful work. (see 5 tips on how to harness this principle).
- Support basic psychological needs: acknowledge and support people's need for autonomy, competence and relatedness in any way you can think of.
- Do what works: identify and apply what works in your context. Change will be more successful when people can use what is based on their own successful experience in their own context.
- Work with the individual's perspective: change is more likely to succeed when a results focus is always combined with a sensitivity to the perspective of individuals involved in the change process.
- Use a test and learn approach: Work with specific short term goals. This will not only make it easier to get started but also to adjust and refine your approach as you go (read example).
- Create congruence between content and process: the change will be more credible when the way the change process is designed fits well with what you want to achieve (read example).
► According to an Academy of Management report, the best way for teams to embrace change is to focus on what is not changing. The findings are based on two studies conducted by management researchers in 2019. The results showed that employees who received less communication about what would remain constant felt more doubtful and resistant to change. On the other hand, those who were assured that some things would not change were more likely to support upcoming changes. ► The authors suggest that leaders communicate a vision of continuity by emphasizing not only what will change, but also what will remain the same. This approach helps maintain a sense of coherence, consistency and continuity, making people more likely to embrace change.