"Dad, I want a piece of cake."
"You can’t, mate. Sorry."
"But you’re eating one. I want some cake too. Pleeeeease."
"Sorry Bud, but you need to eat your dinner first then you can have some cake."
"But you haven’t eaten dinner yet, why are you having cake?"
A common conversation in my house, and a very important lesson for me. Just when I think I’ve got all of my clients worked out, my toughest one reminds me of three things.
- I’ve still got some learning to do.
- I need to stop snacking before dinner.
- My 4 year old can already outsmart me with logic. Regularly.
I spend a lot of my time making sure I exhibit the behaviours I’m trying to teach, and that I embody the change I’m trying to encourage:
- I wear my headset at all times possible when making calls or video conferences.
- I book as many meetings as possible via Skype for Business or Microsoft Teams.
- I use my presence and calendar appropriately to reflect my ability to communicate at any given time.
This is because my job, and my passion, is to help people on their journey towards a modern, digital workplace (and good eating habits.)
Yet, I’m constantly surprised at the resistance to change that I experience.
This technology and the ability to work flexibly should excite everyone, but I still go and visit clients who aren’t adopting these mentalities as much as their project teams would like, and I keep getting frustrated at this.
Then I got asked for cake.
"Do as I say, not as I do" is still as ineffective as it has always been.
Effective change management and successful adoption of a new technology is all about gradual embedding of the right behaviours, and no matter how hard I try as a Change Manager, if these behaviours aren’t being modeled by the client’s management team, how can we expect that everyone else in the team will be on board with these changes?
"But the boss still has a phone."
"Management don’t encourage us to have online meetings."
"No-one really works remotely."
All common things I hear when I try to delve a little deeper into the 'why.'
I can’t stress enough the importance of modeling the right behaviours to your team. Humans, by nature don’t like being 'told' to change. They like to see for themselves that the change in question is a good thing with benefits for them, and they will only truly be on board if they can see those benefits.
The best way to get this across is to model the behaviours you expect to see from your team. They trust you as their manager. They respect you and will look up to you and the behaviours you display in the workplace, and they will model themselves on those behaviours up to and including eating cake before dinner…