Creating Safety For Your People To Change

Written By LeadingAgile

To make a meaningful change requires people to think, feel, or do something different-and usually all three simultaneously. But people are naturally resistant to change. We become comfortable in what we know, and moving into an unknown experience can be scary.

There are many reasons people resist change, particularly in a work environment. There are the people who “have always done it this way” and are hard to convince that doing things a different way will create a better outcome. Maybe the new method involves more work, and they’re comfortable with their current workload, or they don’t have time for more work. For many people, resistance is rooted in fear. They have a secure job, a family to support, and a livelihood that’s at stake. Any change that could threaten that is bound to create resistance.

From a leadership perspective, you may not even know that people are worried about these things personally. All you see is the resistance. You create a vision. You communicate the vision. You create a plan for change, and then you expect that’s what will happen.

But without addressing the issues that your people must face, change won’t take root. People may try for a little bit, but they’ll end up going back to their old ways once they see their environment hasn’t changed around them.

So how do we influence change while supporting the people making the changes?

We’ve created a change management strategy called PSTIR that gets people on board, creates safety for the people to change, and provides a way to measure progress in a way that’s meaningful for the entire organization.

Building The Foundation for Change

Change can’t be something that’s done to the organization or for the organization. Change is something that must be done with the organization.

Creating lasting organizational change requires those being changed to be fully participative, immersed, engaged, and on board with the future state vision.

The ones implementing the change-leaders, influencers, or stakeholders- need to have a vision or a hypothesis for the change when it’s complete. That vision needs to be shared with the organization and customized where appropriate to make sure it fits. There’s no one size fits all approach to change management.

Next, we need to enact the change and show the organization what the new normal looks like.

Last but certainly not least, we need to sustain the change over time.

How To Successfully Implement Change

So, what is PSTIR?

PSTIR is a way of progressively elaborating our change backlog and engaging those implementing the change and those being changed. It is a strategy for aligning beliefs across the organization to engage those being changed. PSTIR can be applied to the changes made with individuals, teams, organizations, or the system itself. The basics are the same regardless of where it’s used.

PSTIR: Prepare, Socialize, Tailor, Implement and Reinforce

Prepare

Determine who needs to be involved in the change and who the leaders and influencers are; they will drive the change. Leaders need to develop a clear hypothesis of how the system looks different in the future state vision, what changes need to happen for the system to get a different outcome, and how to measure progress. Help people see themselves in the system and why they are essential to the change.

Socialize

Engage the leaders and influencers to align them to why we want to make the change and what it will look like. Listen to their feedback and apply it to the plan. Create the necessary conditions to execute the transition with the rest of the teams in the organization with support from the leaders.

Tailor

Act on the feedback we receive and make changes to the plan as needed. Take people’s understanding of why something will or will not work and put that into the plan. Get the leader’s agreement on how we will implement the change. Customize to meet the needs of the organization.

Implement

Execute the change to make it real for them. Provide training, workshops, one-on-one coaching, etc., for the teams. Make sure the organization that’s being changed gets immersed in what we’re doing. Help people see what their work will look like in the future state.

Reinforce

Measure progress and show results to all involved. Celebrate successes along the way publicly so everyone can share in the progress. Continue to modify as needed based on results and feedback.

Together, we’ll prepare for how the system is different once we make the change. We will socialize the change with key leaders and influencers to align them around the change we tailor based on their feedback. We implement that change in the organization. And finally, we reinforce that the change happens and celebrate the successes.

As we know, change must be done with the organization. However, the approach you cultivate along your journey can help you create change. PSTIR is a strategy for aligning those beliefs to create lasting organizational change.

Change is hard, but leveraging PSTIR will help you create a safe environment for your people to embrace the changes required for a successful Transformation.

Originally published at https://www.leadingagile.com on March 28, 2022.

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