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4 Apr 2011

Change Management – Tactic #4: Repetitiveness

This entry is part 4 of 9 in the series Change Management Tips

Change Management & Effecting ChangeThe Hot Spotters, by Atul Gawande in the January 24, 2011 issue of The New Yorker spoke primarily to minimizing medical costs but had much relevancy to my experiences in effecting change. It covered five tactics. This is the fourth of a five part series.

One of the biggest problems we have in promoting change is the assumption that people are light switches. We expect to say something once, and they will change. Advertisers learned long ago that running an advertisement just once doesn’t encourage behaviors of consumers and build brands inside their heads. Repetitively encouraging people to adopt change is a natural part of the change management process. Generally, we should expect to have to instruct and model the change three to four times, maybe more.

The problem is that we often position this more as following up to ensure people do what we told them. Typically, we code this as accountability in our business jargon. It’s better to position this repetitiveness more as a normal part of the instructional and modeling process; it’s a natural part of the change management process. We can do this by saying something like:

I don’t expect you to learn and perform these changes well overnight. There will be challenges. Therefore, I will commit to being available to you on a regular basis so we can help one another make these changes as easy and natural as possible for all of us.

This language establishes an expectation that our follow up is normal and not punitive. It indicates we’re in this together. Otherwise, they could easily construe our actions as micromanagement. The actual frequency of our repetitive instruction and modeling will depend upon the nature and scope of the change.


Series Navigation<< Change Management – Tactic #3: Break Into Small, Simple StepsChange Management – Tactic #5: Request Demonstration >>

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