Organizations grow and adapt by selling people on ideas. This requires skill to strategically move people from one place to another, and, in reality, it involves two simultaneously working personas. If we want organizations to change, then we must first help people change. And if we want people to change what they do or how they go about their normal workflow, then we must create in them a desire to adopt the change. People will not change what they do until that change becomes important to them personally. Understanding how deployment (or project management) and adoption (or change management) work together can help leaders vastly improve results as they try to change and grow.
To help us understand this, let’s talk about watches for a moment.
The “What” and the “How”
I am fascinated with a variety of gadgets, watches being at the top of the pile. I enjoy browsing magazines and online shops featuring timepieces I can’t afford, and will probably never buy. But what keeps drawing me back are two seemingly independent worlds, co-existing in the same object, which we’ll describe as “design” and “mechanics.”
Design is simply what the watch looks like. It’s what catches the eye and triggers a person to purchase and don the timepiece on their wrist. Mechanics are how the watch works. Traditional watches are powered by one of three movements — mechanical-manual wind, mechanical-automatic wind and quartz (or battery-powered). Then, each of these three broad categories can contain thousands of options. Many watch makers have their own proprietary movements that power their creations, while others use more generic mechanics. It would take a deep horological dive to understand them all and swim in its vast ocean (shameless dive watch reference).
The Art of Motivation
So why are we talking about watches, and how does this relate to organizational performance? At the heart of any change rests the art of motivation. Project particulars are one thing — and an important thing, no doubt. But perhaps even more important is the skill required to motivate people to want to adopt the change.
I find the relationship of project and change management to be much like the relationship of watch design and mechanics. If project management is the understanding of what a new system might look like (or the overall aesthetic), then change management is the engine behind the dial (or what makes all the complications work together). And, if project management is the side more readily seen, change management is the hidden and less obvious movements that, unfortunately, fewer people take the time to inspect. And, when we neglect this crucial aspect, what often suffers is the motivation that we failed to invoke in people, which is necessary for adoption.
At ILTACON 2019, Dr. Michelle Rozen, CEO at ChangeMakers LLC, presented the Wednesday morning keynote and said that if we can help “kittens see themselves as lions when they look in the mirror, we can motivate them to work with us rather than against us”.
What did she mean by that? Giving your undivided attention, offering genuine compliments and truly listening to people can be effective strategies when motivating people for change — the more genuine and less “agenda driven” the better. That’s the difference between manipulation and sincere care for the individual. Motivating people with desire for change is the differentiator that can turn complicated changes into legendary success stories.
Change efforts are best adopted when the change is not only best for the organization, but when it also becomes the best situation for the individual people in your organization. Seek the best for your team, and your team will be the organization’s best asset. When that happens, your organization can resemble the exquisite design and mechanics of a fine Swiss watch.