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What if your team just don't understand the 'why' behind your changes?

Change can take a really long time for some businesses to engage with. I don't mean the kind of rapid change that our businesses need when things are going wrong, I am talking about the longer term improvements that we all need to engage with.

Do you ever watch your staff / colleagues agree to a new way of working, only to watch this approach ebb away after a few days or weeks?

There may be a million reasons why the change doesn't stick. I'm sure that you can think of a whole host of reasons just off the top of your head, I know I can!

But, what if a lot of these reasons boiled down to the fact that the people just didn't understand the change, in a meaningful way? What if they conceptually understood the request, but it had no value to them, that the reason was missing?

In lots of cases I have seen people have the 'penny drop' when the reason behind a change has been re-explained, often in a different way to the first time that it was previously explained. How many times have you re-read something, or re-heard something and had the lights come on?

It could be the same for our colleagues and our team. We might just need to spend a little more time with them, to make sure that they understand the rationale behind a change as well as the mechanics of the change in order for it to stick as an idea worth following.

As I said, there could be a million reasons, but this particular one - not understanding the meaning behind the change - might be a biggie!

When I wrote the book Losing the Cape I was partially talking to this crowd. The section on breaking down the business' improvement vision into meaningful chunks that people could buy into was part of this. This strategy works, could it work for you?

If you get time to reflect on the changes / improvements you have started but watched fall over in recent times ask yourself 'did the people involved understand the why of the change as well as the what?'

It is a common phrase that 'the reason makes all of the difference' and perhaps we can look at using this more effectively within our own improvement endeavours.

Food for thought!


Giles


About the author Giles Johnston is a Chartered Engineer who specialises in helping businesses to grow and improve through better business processes. Giles is also the author of Business Process Re-Engineering and creator of the 'Making It Happen' continuous improvement toolkit.