Most change programmes feel, at some point, like too much hard work - even to the strongest advocate. The challenge at this stage is not to lose momentum, but to provide strong leadership and keep your foot on the pedal.
That doesn’t mean that you should not listen to people’s fears and concerns - just the opposite, in fact. You should listen and take note of enhancements that can be made and even drop some minor changes that don’t provide sufficient benefit when re-assessed, but you must never let up on the vision - keep it strong and in the forefront of your mind when considering change requests, whether formal or informal.
Seeking feedback, and most importantly listening and responding to it are powerful ways to maintain momentum. John Kotter reminds us that:
'The consequences of letting up can be very dangerous. Whenever you let up before the job is done, critical momentum can be lost and regression may soon follow. The new behaviors and practices must be driven into the culture to ensure long-term success. Once regression begins, rebuilding momentum is a daunting task.'
It is too easy sometimes to be lulled into a false sense of security when it comes to change. All too often we forget how long it can take change a culture - it is generally not something that can just be instructed - or happens over night. Changing culture for real, requires nurturing.
The burning platform may seem a distant memory but you must make sure that its impact and the strategies to extinguish it are constantly remembered. It is essential that your L&D and communications colleagues are aligned so that they don’t contradict you or each other and can work together to reinforce the vision through consistent, drip-fed learning and messaging.
About the authors
Jooli Atkins FBCS CITP is Chair of The BCS Learning and Development Specialist Group - the only professional body solely dedicated to supporting L&D professionals working in IT.
Susanna Way MBCS CITP is also a member of the BCS Learning and Development Specialist Group and has a special interest in extending our online presence and engaging more closely with our members.