MOT Bloggers Club August 2021

Implementing Change

Change is about funny. It can be for the best reasons, but we still resist. Humans are fickle creatures after all, and we have lots of biases. Change can feel scary, but I think the unknowns are what lead to those feelings. What if it makes things worse? What if I can’t adapt? What if nobody likes the thing? Or worse they are hostile to the change? All understandable questions.

Scale of Change

Like most things, some thought and planning can go along way. While I’m no “change master” I have dealt with and implemented changes. The scale of the change effects how much care is needed. A small or trivial change can be done with less risk compared to a larger change that has a bigger impact. It’s all about the risks. Something we deal with all the time.

Some places are more resistant to change, and you’re gonna have a hard time no matter the scale of change. In general, you should be able to influence things at a smaller scale without upsetting anyone, like in your immediate team. I’m assuming you work with decent people who all respect each other and want to do good things.

Small changes

I treat these changes as a mix of experimentation and “I’m just doing this”. These are things that I think will be positive for me, and possibly others. These changes don’t make things worse for anyone else, and if it doesn’t work out? Then I’ve learned something, and can try again.

An example - Meeting notes

Like many people I have meetings. While I don’t inherently dislike meetings, I expect something to come out of it. When I’m on a call, and we’re discussing things, I’ve made a point to start capturing notes in the chat. This gives me a record to refer back to, summarise points, and capture actions. This means we all can walk away from that conversation with a good sense of what was talked about and agreed. I don’t do this to be “the scribe” in every call. I hope that by role-modelling those behaviors it encourages people to think about outcomes, and contribute in some way.

Small changes can have a big impact.

Larger changes

This is where we need to tread more carefully and think about our context.

  • as-is: Where we are right now?
  • the problem:What we are trying to change?
  • to-be: Where we want to go?

Without these we can’t really implement change effectively. Changing things is hard, and if there’s no benefit to people, why should they get on board?

The only way I can see to make a big change is to do it with people, rather than to them. We need to understand: different situations, points of view and concerns. So we can make informed decisions that lead to positive outcomes. This means lots of talking to people, taking on feedback and adapting.

Eventually we should enough people bought into our change and enough input to implement it well. We need to keep learning and adapting throughout.