Much of the focus of change initiatives is on motivating people to change. However, even if someone wants to change, they still need to be able to do it. When people resist change, it may not be that they won’t change, but that they can’t. Your job as a change agent is not just to convince people to change, but to enable them to do it.
Enabling people to change goes beyond training. To ensure people are able to change, we must find ways to equip them to succeed. The following are eight elements of change ability:
In order to change, people need to be aware of the change. They need to not only know that it’s happening, but also why it’s happening, and how it will affect them.
Before they can make the change, they need to understand their role and what they need to do. They may need procedures and instructions to be successful.
When people have the skills to change, they are capable of doing what needs to be done. When they are competent, they can do it well enough to meet or exceed standards for effectiveness and efficiency.
Beyond their own knowledge and skills, people need to have the tools to adequately perform the job. Tools are any physical or virtual mechanism outside of themselves, like templates, checklists, devices or systems, that enables someone to be effective.
People may need other resources to change. They may need funding, manpower, expertise, or attention to perform the job well. They may need support systems to help them when they get stuck.
Even with adequate knowledge, skills, and resources, people need to believe they are capable of implementing the change effectively. In addition to themselves, they need to trust that the organization and the change are able to achieve the desired results.
To engage in the change initiative, people need to have the time and energy to participate. If they have other projects occurring at the same time, the desired change needs to have relative priority.
People need to have the appropriate authority to change. Authority includes having permission to change and to act accordingly. They need to be able to make decisions that support change. They need the freedom to prioritize their work so they can get it done.
In order for people to make progress towards change, they must have the ability to change. Enabling change goes beyond training new skills; it means providing people with everything they need to succeed, so nothing can stand in their way.