I love to run (and though I recently shared publicly for the first time the unfortunate reason running entered my life, I am so very grateful for the experience that brought me to running). Though my hips, knees, and back are aging with me; I still get a runners-high when I’m out. I enter a meditative state which leads me to my best and most creative ideas.
A little bragging, (hey, this website is self promoting, right?) while I can’t keep up with the running rabbis, I do run small races (I like to get medals).
And all of this running, especially when it is in a marathon context, is a great example of one reason why change often fails.
Imagine this: all those who will be affected by a particular change in your organization are marathon runners. Instead of lining up by speed, they all line up according to how involved they have been in planning the change. For example, when hiring a new CEO, the search team members are the front runners. The leaders who have to approve the new CEO are just behind the search team. Following them are the managers who will be reporting directly to the CEO and helping their teams transition. Behind them, are their own direct reports. And so on.
Now imagine the race begins. Who will cross the finish line first? Usually those who have been working the longest on the change – the leaders. One of the most demoralizing moments in a race is when one finally crosses the finish the line only to find the parking lot half empty with those who finished earlier and are long gone.
In a marathon, we can see the long spread of runners. It is obvious there are those who will arrive long before others may have even crossed the start line.
In a change, though, the marathon is actually an emotional one. We don’t see the evidence so clearly. Yet, the effect is the same. Organizational leaders often come to terms with a change well before it is announced to the rest of the company. As employees are still grappling with how their jobs are different, leaders already expect them to have adjusted to the change and demonstrate whatever increase in production, revenue or connection is supposed to take place.
This is where a transition manager makes a tremendous difference in the success or failure of change. We ensure leaders and mangers implement change in such a way employees’ anxieties are alleviated and everyone is oriented for success. Understanding how different people respond to change, respecting how a particular change affects different populations, and adequately preparing for these factors will ensure a successful change in your organization. With our guidance, the employee environment will remain positive, productive, and loyal.
With our help, the journey to the finish line will be one as enjoyable as my own runs. Time spent transitioning through a change is similar a runner’s high. It can be filled with excitement and creativity when done right. Let us help you do it right.