How can line managers positively or negatively impact staff attitude to change?
As a conference speaker you are never quite sure until your moment is over whether the event and the responses of its participants will be as you envisaged. I often feel the same when working with a customer developing a Programme Blueprint! Creating a realistic yet hopeful picture of the future and structuring your communications around it is a challenge faced by all developing organisations, several of whom were represented at the recent Managing Change Public Service conference. CMC Partnership has a long and close relationship with the public sector, having engaged with and supported many of the country’s largest, most successful change programmes.
At the conference we used Forum Theatre from Corporate Drama, in a Masterclass scenario involving discussion about an imminent office relocation. We explored how one-to-one discussions about upcoming changes can reduce resistance and assist transition from current ways of working to new, and drew the audience into discussion about how line managers can positively or negatively affect their staff’s attitude to upcoming change. In the first run of the conversation it was evident that the manager, Mark was not supportive of the change and Susie the employee left the meeting feeling despondent and resentful that she was expected to pick up the mess of co-ordinating relocation for the team. We designed the scenario to exaggerate behaviours but, somewhat unnervingly, the audience recognised most of the behaviours as true to life. Using audience input and applying research based Prosci® change management models, in particular the ADKAR® Model for individual change, we then replayed the scenario. A supportive and constructive Mark helped Susie to feel that her ‘What’s in it For Me’ had been addressed, ensuring that she was keen and eager to help with the change. Conversation was buzzing after the Masterclass and many comments were made about how the Forum Theatre and supporting video, made in conjunction with Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council had brought this change challenge to life. Many of us agreed that although we may understand change management theory, showing people what a situation could be like when good practice is applied is a lot more powerful than telling them!
This article was also published by PublicServant Magazine January 2012, page 44.