Improvement, by it’s very nature, requires change. Therefore any organization that is going to improve is going to undergo change, some more rapidly than others and some more painfully than others.

The number one key to managing change in an organization is understanding that most people do NOT want to change.

A seasoned management consultant once told me, “the only people that want to change are baby’s with a dirty diaper”.

Funny, but not really true. Some people are driven to change, they cannot spend too long in any one place or doing any one thing. Others don’t notice change or will change just for the fun of it.

However, most people thrive on doing the same thing they have always been doing, in exactly the same way. They are naturally resistant to change. Lastly, there are the people that will accept change, as long as it is justified and well planned out.

For those of you familiar with the DISC model of behavioral styles I have just listed the four behavioral styles in order, D, I, S and C, and how they handle change. Now that we know how people generally handle change, what do we do with this knowledge?

Before we get to some practical applications let’s take a look at the abeo model for change.

The abeo model for personal change is a very simple five step model.

  1. Awareness – Become aware that there is a problem. This may be from internal research or external feedback.
  2. Understanding – Get knowledge of the impact of the problem, how much will it cost to remain the same and to change?
  3. Acceptance – This is the biggie. Accept that change is necessary and beneficial. Without acceptance there can be no change.
  4. Commitment – This is where the decision is actually made to change. Commitment leads to…
  5. Action – Doing something to bring the change about. If no action is taking place go back and see if steps 1-4 have all been completed.

Practical application

Armed with our five step change model and the knowledge of behavioral styles we can now go through some practical applications.

Survey

The first thing to do is to understand the entire makeup of the team or organization that is trying to change. Everyone should take the abeo Personal Style (DISC) survey. The results of the survey plots each team members primary and secondary behavioral style. For instance, DI or SC. The entire organization and small teams can be displayed as plotted points on a graph. This provides and overview of the primary styles.

Plan

With this information a communication plan can be drawn up that takes into account each person’s unique behavioral style.

Implement

Some people will simply require much more time than others to handle change effectively and they will also need step-by-step instructions. Other people will need different types of communication and preparation for change.

Measure

There is a group of people that will want to know if the change was worthwhile. For this to happen measurements must be taken before the change and after the change for a period of time. Success to them will be if the numbers are better.