When Organizational Change Management (OCM) companies enter the picture they often come sweeping in to “save the day.” OCM service companies want to be the hero that solves all the problems an organization faces and implement the new changes and the new processes. These companies claim to have all the answers and can’t wait to tell a client what to do and how to do it. OCM companies lay out their methodology – the roadmap identifying how OCM should be implemented, tout the importance of the methodology, and almost force the plan down the client’s throat.
One of the biggest reasons for OCM failure is negative reaction to change. Clients push back for several reasons:
- They are okay with the way things are done today
- They don’t understand the change process or the change plan
- They don’t agree with how the change is being implemented
One of the major reasons for this pushback is lack of ownership of the process. OCM planners have a vision but don’t always engage the individuals whom the vision will most specifically impact. They don’t consider the workers’ emotional state. When workers feel they have no say in the process or the solution they develop an attitude of resentment. They are less likely to buy-in to the solution and certainly will not go out of their way to help implement it. In extreme cases, angry workers will even sabotage a change process implementation.
It is critical for an OCM organization to place the client, and specifically the impacted workers, at the forefront of the solution. The hero of any good OCM story is not the OCM company and their methodology but the employees themselves. By engaging the employees and including them in the conversation and decision-making you give them a sense of ownership. The workers will become the hero and, thus, be more likely to buy-in to the solution. When somebody “owns” a solution they are more likely to fight for it rather than fight against it.
OCM leaders need to get out of their own way and lose their ego. Their job should be to lead the client to the solution…not force the solution upon them.
Leading the client means:
- Helping them understand the importance of change
- Listening to what the client has to say, and
- Working with the client to develop the best solution
This leadership style will go a long way toward a successful implementation that is supported by those involved rather than having to fight a battle over change every step of the way.
An OCM methodology does not bring about change. Leadership brings about change.