Change Management Takes Patience

Shawnee Love   •  
October 14, 2016

Too many times, good ideas fail because of poor implementation.

We see it with mergers and acquisitions, new leaders hired, brand changes, policy implementations, product launches, job changes and so on.

What we think is interesting is that organizations have often done their planning due diligence for the changes to equipment, policies, duties, financing, structure, systems, legal implications, etc., but they drive ahead without thinking about the time it takes for people to become accustomed to the changes and follow suit.

Time and time again, I have seen a clearly better solution presented to employees but because it is sprung on them Hour Glass isolated on white backgroundwith no notice or consultation, the transition doesn’t go smoothly.

The truth is, good change management takes patience.  When counselling PATIENCE, I have found myself saying….

Yes pleases do…:

  • Talk about the change and plan long before you do them (even if it means slowing things down to give “enough” time),
  • Ask for opinions and ideas even if you think you know the right answer,
  • Listen attentively to each idea and concern remembering each is important to the individual even if you have heard it many times before,
  • Repeat yourself over and over until the change is done,
  • Revisit the necessity of the change or the plan when staff get confused, forget why its needed, or discover a new reason to disagree
  • Say thanks to employees for making the change because it is more than “just doing” their jobs,
  • Answer what amounts to the same question multiple times to one employee only to have another employee ask the same one.

And, all of that takes a lot more time than typically anticipated and thus your patience.  The very important reason why you should be patient and take the time to do all these things is because doing so greases the wheels of change.  I have noticed that that harder you push for a change, the harder people push back.

I know there is the fear that people will need as much time as you give them, but that thinking is somewhat misguided when it comes to change management and leads to greater resistance as well as employee burnout if applied in too many situations.  Easing up on the throttle and showing patience gives people the time they need to process a change and come around.  An added benefit of taking more time with staff is you might learn something you didn’t know that can dramatically improve the plan.