Manage The Chaos Of Adopting Change


You may be familiar with the model above—it’s FranklinCovey’s change model. The model is a simple representation of something that each organization and team faces—change.

Ideally, the blue results line should appear short and shallow, indicating that your respective change went as quickly and positively as possible. But, as you can see, result lines can frequently and easily devolve into a chaotic mess that lengthens the time it takes before your change starts to spark better performance.

As a first-level leader, here are two actions you can implement to keep your chaos to a minimum and have a short and shallow results curve during your period of change.

Tactic 1: Define the “How”

In the Zone of Disruption, you’ve announced the change, whether of your own creation or from above. Organizational results are negatively impacted by the disruption as your team works out ways to adopt the change. This is where the change process can really fall apart if you allow it. This is the time you should shape people’s expectations of what’s to come.

Here are a few strategies you can use to help define the “how” as you move through the Zone of Adoption:

  • Focus on what matters and say no to the rest.
  • Use a scoreboard to track progress.
  • Celebrate early wins.

Through the change process, much of your job as a first-level leader is to manage the emotions of your team. Setting expectations and helping them understand the vision behind the change will keep morale high and your results curve from turning into a jumbled mess.

Tactic 2: Don’t Hide Mistakes

Mistakes are part of any change initiative. The key is not to allow them to paralyze your progress. Mistakes are actually great as long as they don't happen twice. It's okay if we make mistakes, but you should also avoid saying, “Oh wow, that's not a problem. Don't worry about it.”

Instead of ignoring mistakes, you can say, “That's not a problem. What can we learn from it so that we get better as a team?” As you move through the change process, and especially the Adoption Phase, create a safe learning environment for your team so that mistakes will turn into opportunities.

How you lead through the change will determine whether your blue results line is short and shallow or whether it grows deep and chaotic. Clearly communicate the “how” behind the change, and embrace your mistakes as learning opportunities, and you'll succeed. 

When you fail to prepare employees for leadership, you put the success of your organization in jeopardy. Get the insights to avoid first-level leader breakdowns and download our latest research study. 

About the Author

Victoria Roos Olsson

Victoris Roos Olsson is a senior leadership consultant for FranklinCovey. She is an expert in leadership development and has trained and coached leaders around the world for more than twenty years. Originally from Sweden, Victoria has led learning and development for large organizations across Europe and the Middle East. Married with two daughters, she balances her corporate life with being a yoga instructor and a running coach.

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