The Change Curve

I am excited to introduce a new Time to Win guest writer, Danielle Brandon, Senior Director of Organizational Development!

“An effective leader is agile and responsive; she takes advantage of changes in the market, changes in technology, and change agents in its human capital. Building a high tolerance for change and understanding how to bring humans with you isn’t magic.

Leaders make assumptions that since nothing is as constant as change that humans will figure it out, and worse, with all their change exposure they are good at it. This notion leaves much to chance, change should be managed just as you would a new process, a new tool, a new methodology.

Introducing… the change curve. The Change Curve is a single measuring stick which applies to teammates at all levels. It gives us a safe way to guide humans through change, informs us where we should allocate resources, and when our desired change is at risk. A Teammate camping out in “Feelings”, unable to look to the future, is a risk to the desired change. Leaders should spot this resistance early and address it. Meanwhile, adopters of change become trusted and “get to” take on prominent and vital roles in the changes leading to continue/sustained growth and opportunity!

How should leaders manage change with their teams?

Stage 1. Information – the first domino of change is knocked over. Teammates are made aware of a change. This stage should factor in the audience. Who does this change effect? Who will support this change? Who is sponsoring these changes? Information should be timely, relevant, highlight the WIFM, be transparent and accessible.

Stage 2. Support – change is sinking in. Leaders should plan for additional training, design feedback loops, listen and increase the frequency of the benefits of the change.

Stage 3. Direction – give the answers to the test. Effective Leaders must remove confusion, impart clarity, hold teammates accountable, and measure quality.

Stage 4. Encouragement – the new normal. Leaders must model the way. There cannot be a “do as I say, not as I do” culture. Praise individual and team wins, communicate the scorecard, and re-cap the journey.

It is human nature to respond to change moving in and out of Denial, Feelings, Exploration and Acceptance. The rate of human response is different for everyone. As leaders become highly skillful in managing Stages 1 – 4, the tolerance to change will only increase, becoming part of the fabric of the culture.”