Change. The word carries a lot of baggage. Some people think of change in quite a positive light: changes come along with the promise of a new beginning and a fresh start. But when it comes down to it, change is hard. Even when people know that the change is for their own good, it’s difficult to obtain. Why is that? It’s all a matter of basic psychology.
Why Most Change Management Initiatives Fail
Change in business really isn’t all that different from change in one’s personal life. After all, no business change occurs without a change in the people. Change management, whether it is supposed to foster acceptance for your new AMS software or to get employees used to new work processes, is not unlike any other change: switching to a healthier diet, getting accustomed to a regular exercise routine, or stopping a bad habit that you know is damaging your health.
Most change fails because it is viewed as occurring from the outside in, instead of from the inside out. If you look at people who successfully changed their diet, exercise, or other health routines, you will find that those are the people who first made the change inside—they decided that they were the instrument of the change and worked to make it happen, instead of depending on a TV personality or a boxed fitness set to initiate and drive the change. The problem is, when change is difficult or fails, people become jaded and then tend to reject further attempts at change.
Managing the Psychology of Change
Organizational change management has to happen the same way: from the inside outward. Successful change management only happens when the fundamental need for change is realized, and that realization is then used as motivational drive to continue with the change. It also involves continual encouragement and support, just like participating in the Whole Life Challenge to eat better or beginning a new workout program at the gym. Even at CrossFit, where I’m an instructor, we don’t expect a newbie to come in knowing how to navigate the barbells and pullup rig, or how many reps to do, or how much weight to start out with. Neither should change leaders expect people to automatically know what steps to take to get from here to there with organizational change.
When it’s time to adopt new association software, you’ll need to master the psychology of change management in the same way. Begin by creating the realization of the need to change. Why are the changes necessary? What is wrong with the current system? Be specific. Once you’ve identified the “whys” behind the change, you can use those reasons to drive the motivation for teams to embrace the new software and push forward with the procedural changes that any new system brings.
Finally, you can’t forget the crucial elements of support and encouragement. Just like encouraging the new guy at the gym, there’s a time to push for them to do more and there’s a time to pat them on the back and say, “Way to go.” A good change leader will learn to recognize the difference and give the needed prods and praises to the right people at the right times.
When it comes to change management to oversee the implementation of new AMS software, you don’t have to go it alone. This handy guide, Implementing Your AMS: What to Expect Along the Way, will provide helpful insights. Contact us to learn more.