Go Bears! (A Team Undergoing Change)

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As football seasons kicks in to gear, here are some basic lessons learned for those teams undergoing major changes for the 2015 season.

Although we may argue all summer over who reigns supreme on the baseball field (this year my Cubs finally got the upper hand!) in the fall, all Chicagoans come together and rally behind the beloved Chicago Bears. We are known for being optimistic when it comes to our sports teams, and on the football field this optimism has been tested in the past few years. As a result, the Bears face a transition year with a brand new coaching staff and lots of changes in store for the team.

It remains to be seen if they are able to successfully manage these changes on the field and put together an improved team. From my experience in implementing change within the PPM space, I have some quick lessons learned for my beloved Bears and all others pursuing large change initiatives.

  1. Get key team members on board immediately: Involving key team members from all levels in a change initiative will help push change to the lower levels. These leaders are often not the highest ranking members of a team, but well respected players within it. When respected team members are on board and help drive the change, those that look to these leaders for guidance also jump aboard and are eager to move ahead with the initiative.
  2. Roll out change incrementally: It is important to realize that in most cases there are some areas that work well and do not need change. It is important to analyze what’s working and what isn’t and to focus on changing capability areas that will have the largest impact. Big bang change initiatives are rarely successful and often leave the team more frustrated than before the change was implemented.
  3. Focus on the benefits of change: Team members frequently focus on the negative impact of change. It is important to make clear the benefits that the team members will realize from successful change. If team members don’t see the WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) their engagement and motivation will not be high enough to carry the effort through.
  4. Use multiple channels to drive change: With most organizations having employees across multiple demographics and generations, it is important to understand that team members will have varying preferences on how to learn about and adopt change. Some may prefer in person training or hands on practice. Other team members may get more out of a webinar or video demonstration. In addition, team members will come in to the change initiative with varying levels of maturity, so it is important to incorporate training for the more advanced as well as the rookies that may need more basic instruction. Developing a one size fits all approach will alienate team members on all sides of the spectrum.