Change Mindset - a case for sustainable organisation development

By Anna Koj

In order to be successful, change should be sustainable. Nowadays, sustainable change is not only about implementing new processes or structures, it’s more than ever about developing new thinking patterns together with your team. It takes time and commitment, but most of all it takes high levels of emotional intelligence. As an organisation leader, consider how change can affect people. Humans are creatures of habit. That is why change often feels unsettling, drives fear of the unknown, anxiety over predicted loss of control or straight denial. 

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Whether you are planning a major change or simply anticipating how new external factors may impact your organisation, one key word for you to remember is communication. 

Open two-way communication about any planned change or challenge ahead is essential because it shows people they are part of the conversation no matter the circumstances. It inspires creative thinking and builds engagement. This feeling of agency is the very basis of the change mindset you want to foster in your team. 

What else can you do to bring your team on board?

Identify the change makers and the potential saboteurs in your organisation, acknowledge that everyone deals with change in their own unique manner and tailor your support to individual members of the team accordingly. There are no “one size fits all” solutions here. 

Make change part of the day-to-day job. Empower your team members to explore new areas of development, challenge them to contribute to the work of other departments. It will break old routines and help individuals dissociate their self-worth from specific tasks they carry out at work, thus eliminating one of the key reasons of resistance to change. 

Then, help them develop a systemic approach to change by jointly setting clear milestones on these new projects. Allow space for creativity and initiative but expect accountability.

Finally, praise efforts and jointly celebrate even small success. On top of being a great encouragement, it also primes your team members’ subconsciousness to associate change and new experiences with positive feelings. 

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The article has been originally written for HQ - The Association Magazine and published in the May 2019 edition of the magazine, accessible online, here.