Well I bet you are wondering what the heck the state of my transport has to do with organisational change!

Well, last week it was snowy and fairly poor driving conditions but my car had been booked in for its MOT and service so I was going no matter what. The garage ususally give me a lift back home so I didn’t think to take my purse. As luck would have it they didn’t have enough workers (due to snow) to give me a ride home so I set off walking back.. more miles than I like to think of!

I started to reflect as I was sliding and walking along the frozen pathways, about transition and change. How my walk was reflecting this in many ways

Anxiety at the start of the change journey is normal –  at the start of the walk I did feel anxious about the journey, given the snow had started to come down heavier, I was worried about falling. I wondered what changes I would have to make to my route and how they would affect me. I looked to other people around me, they seemed to be managing, but maybe they had more insight and ability than me. I had lots of worries about the potential impact on me. This is the same for people during change, worry about the impact on individuals, and on those around them that they care about, this is normal. Sometimes this is seen as resistance or non engagement in organisations.. food for thought..?

Interim targets and processes are essential during the change journey – as I deliver training on resilience during organisational change to people all over the country. The biggest thing people talk to me about is not knowing what the end point will look like; working systems and processes constantly changing, doing things one way one week and then they are changed again the week after, causing frustration and disengagement. Giving people a ‘marker in the sand’ especially when the final outcome is unclear, is essential for people to feel safe and valued whilst the organisation around them is altering in shape. On my journey I had mental markers; landmarks along the way to help me keep moving forward. These helped to keep me focussed on the job in hand. Presenteeism is a major issue in organisations currently, perhaps costing more than absenteeism. Being clear about interim organisational systems and processes and why they are being developed, help keep people focussed.

I was lucky, I knew the end point on my walk was home, I knew where I was heading and the possible routes to get me there. People in large organisations are not that lucky sometimes. My journey was tricky and there were a few changes of direction due to snow. When people are unsure of the route, or are not sure that the route being taken is the right one. Managers and leaders need to be acutely aware of the psychological aspects of this. Having a transition plan, as well as a change plan is crucial. People make organisational change work or not. That’s why taking care of what people care about, is paramount.

I have developed a five stage transition plan for organisations which deals with psychology of transition and what leaders and managers can do to help. find it on my website at http://www.cmcconsulting.org. in the published articles section, it is called Navigating The Journey. Which is what my walk home was really all about

I got home eventually, refreshed, if a little tired, from my walk. Although at first I wouldn’t have chosen to walk it ended up very well. Which can also be a little like organisational change!

best wishes from Snowy Leeds!