Tips for Keeping Change Alive

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

Tips for Keeping Change Alive

These are tips submitted by people who are out there leading change inside organizations.


When Change is Inflicted on You

[This “tip” is really a series of tips that speak to the power an individual can have in shaping his or her future. I reprint this person’ s comments in their entirety because this government employee offers such great advice.]

I’ve worked in the federal government for 30+ years. For 10 years I was in my “job of a lifetime” as an organizational development expert in a human resource office. One day, without warning, eleven of my colleagues and I were given a letter abolishing our OD positions. It would have been so easy to be resentful. However, I consciously decided I wanted to successfully manage the change, so I actively chose not to take on a victim role. I decided to practice what I had been preaching for 10 years and to model successfully managing a sudden, unexpected, and potentially difficult life change.

Tip: Have a positive intention for a successful outcome.

Rumor had it I was one of four who would be moved to the Labor & Employee Relations Office. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be one of the three moving to the Employee side or the one moving to the Labor side, so I did my homework. I asked many of my friends for their advice. I also sought out people in the two offices to learn what I might be doing and asked their advice. In the end, I realized that there wasn’t enough data available to know which position might be better suited for my skills.

Tip: Do your homework, research and information gathering so you make a better decision.

The four of us met with the new supervisors to discuss our moves. My three co-workers were adamant about the position they did not want. Since my research told me I didn’t know which position would be better for me, I told management I was willing to take whichever position they felt best met their needs.

Tip: Be as easy to manage as possible.

As the first non-Labor Relation’s Specialist ever to join the Labor Relations organization, I soon became aware that my new management didn’t understand what my strengths and skills were. They didn’t really know what to do with me, and I knew it was up to me to educate them. I learned to volunteer for tasks I knew I could do well.

Tip: Accept the challenge of figuring out how to transfer your skills to a brand new environment.

I knew it might be difficult for me, as a senior level employee, to admit when I didn’t already have the knowledge or skills they expected. However, I learned to ask for clarity when given an assignment I didn’t understand. I also learned to admit if I didn’t know how to do something, and ask for step-by-step guidance as I undertook new assignments.

Tip: Be honest with yourself and others about your knowledge, skills and abilities. Don’ t be afraid to ask for clarity or help.

While it initially took a lot more effort to be positive, the benefits have truly outweighed the victim satisfaction. Within a year in my new position, I received a nice salary increase for my efforts. And as a change management consultant, I am more successful with my clients because I have a personal successful model to share.

Government employee

Saying Thank You to Inspire!

Saying thank you is an important way to acknowledge the contributions of ideas or actions of individuals or teams. There are three elements of expressing thanks that increase the effectiveness from appreciation to inspiration.

  • Describe what the person did that you saw as valuable. This reinforces the specific behavior and encourages the person to continue to do the particular actions that you are citing.
  • Cite what the person did that was unique to him or her. For example, he may have brought his past experience to share with others and transferred significant knowledge; or she may have done a task that was a clear stretch for her.
  • Describe the impact of his or her action on the organization – this ties into a bigger picture and connects to the ultimate purpose.
Anastasia Walsh
Two-Way Communications Program Manager
Lockheed Martin

© 2009 Rick Maurer – Rick uses his Change without Migraines™ to advise organizations on how to lead change effectively. He is author of many books including Beyond the Wall of Resistance. Recently, he created the Change Management Open Source Project, a free resource for people interested in change in organizations.