How do we establish change?
Gabriele Freudenstein is an expert in systemic coaching and business coaching. On the XING platform, she writes about how good supervisors can drive change with their actions and leadership style, and how they can accompany a team through change in two steps. Gabriele Freudenstein is convinced that change will be one of the main tasks of management in the coming years, that it is the job of superiors to set up teams that perform best under constant change and, of course, to encourage and support the teams in this. Below we summarise her article for you.
Continuing education in a modern way
Companies require their workforce to actively participate in change in order for the company to remain competitive. A lot is already being done for professional development in general. For most workers in management, development and many other areas, courses, e-learning, coaching, on-the-job training and various seminars are part of everyday life. Hardly any leading company neglects the further training of its employees, especially in the demanding professions. In addition to professional competence, value is sometimes also placed on further training in the area of personal skills. Freudenstein notes that many companies have already internalised the so-called new learning culture and that new training formats have already found their way into everyday work. New media are being integrated and training is taking place on site, directly at the workplace through coaches and training on demand. That’s a Progress!
Proactive employees are wanted
Self-determined learning is desired and demanded, and motivated employees are happy to accept it. And it is precisely these employees that companies are desperately looking for. They are the ones who search for information, knowledge and know-how on their own, adapted to the work they are currently doing. It is these employees who are best at navigating change processes and can be a real asset with their proactive nature.
Keyword implementation competence
In the past, it was generally assumed that everyone was capable of implementing something if they only displayed sufficient willpower. Today it is becoming increasingly clear that it is not that simple and that implementation skills do exist. Not all people are equally good at implementing what they have learned and changes. According to Freudenstein, one must not only want to, but also be able to. Here the author refers to Prof. Dr. Axel Koch. He coined the term "transfer strength". This is what he called the quality of successful implementation together with the competence of self-control. In his work, he described people as "successful implementers" who can change their behaviour on their own, who can quickly replace old habits with new ones and who can integrate the impetus for change into their everyday life virtually overnight and also maintain it. For some people this poses no difficulty at all, but for others it poses major hurdles. Think of how hard it can be for some people to give up drinking coffee, eating less sweets, going to the gym regularly or just drinking more water. These are all simple changes, but they are often incredibly difficult because new routines have to be learned and they go against our habit. It is not different in everyday working life. Freudenstein thus points out that the effects of further training measures simply fizzle out if the implementation competence is missing. Because the management level is not aware of this, further training measures are often inefficient.
How do I promote implementation competence?
So how can you encourage your staff to implement? As a manager, it is your task to create an environment in which successful development is possible. On the one hand, you have to offer further training measures and on the other hand, you have to help with the implementation. You do this by showing interest and always asking how well the implementation is working. Ask how far the training has already had an impact and how you can provide further assistance if things are not yet working so well. Take steps to support the team culture. This means that you observe the team at work and always intervene or follow up when changes show up but lead to conflicts. Before the change is abolished again because it seems to become difficult, you as a leader must have a clarifying conversation and find a solution strategy. An important aspect is also the timeline. Plan time for the implementation of the change. Make sure that your team has a while to get used to the changes.
The second step towards implementation
The second step is to identify where your employees are having difficulty implementing change. Try to create an environment where your staff can talk openly. Allow change to be seen as uncomfortable and challenging. Not everyone can be 100% enthusiastic from the start. Encourage the employees who admit their difficulties to talk about it and help them. Agree on a test phase, find motivating words and constantly remind them of previous successes. Sometimes it helps just to remind people how they felt when they had their first driving lesson compared to how they drive today, as if they had never done anything else.
Assistance and personal responsibility
Allow your employees to take personal responsibility. Clarify the coming steps in the group, preferably as concretely as possible. Discuss together once again the advantages you expect from the change. And then let them do it for the time being. Trust is extremely important. Always encourage your staff to ask for help from others - including yourself - when things go wrong. Pay special attention to those who know you as a lone wolf. Finally, you also have the task of intervening in case of a relapse into the old habits. Make change a priority. Give your staff the time to repeat new processes until they become a habit. Put other demands on hold for a while. Identify with your team how the change failed to be implemented. What precedes the failure? Where does it get stuck? Gabriele Freudenstein once stressed how important motivation is. Discuss realistic goals so that there is no disappointment and do everything you can to act as a motivator along the way.
Author: IAPM internal
Key words: Project management, Management Culture, Change management, Psychology