The timing of change cannot be overstated. People react very differently to requests based on when they happen. At a high level, reactions are affected by life stages like job transition or children – at a low level your energy level and mood will highly affect whether a decision is approved or not.
The order of things also make a huge difference. If you sell someone a suit, then it is easy to tag an extra tie on to the bill. But you cannot do it the other way around. What you say first will affect, how the next words are experienced. Lets take a look at three powerful approaches:
Timely prompt: Where are they in their life, where is the business and how is their time arranged to receive a prompt. Bad news is not given up to a weekend or a holiday, big decisions are not asked in the afternoon or towards the end of the week, big change is not done in one sitting nor announced six months in advance (Yes a CEO I worked with actually did that once and of course everyone started leaving and the rest delivered nothing for – you guessed it – six months).
Design: You need to really try to understand the people, who will be affected by the change. What is the context of the change, how will they perceive this change, should some people be approached first, should some elements be brought up first, if there is a cost up front, is there a way to sweeten that, what are the channels, who are the senders, etc. This is your change plan but at an individual behavior level – thus you need individual support tools like leader led training.
Help preplan: Lets say that you did everything right up to this moment. You got the right culture, the right change plan and considered everything above. Now you have just informed everyone of the change and they are even excited about it! But if you leave it here, you are still doomed. Because the next step for everyone is to go work in a new way, and that always lead to problems. Not necessarily all big or daunting ones, but it will be enough for them to doubt. To complain over lunch. To get worked up about it at home. And of course stop the change. But all you got to do is make sure that when they are most excited, you and your team sit down with them and help preplan for all the problems they will encounter and how they will manage them. It’s a kind a magic.
TIMING – IS – EVERYTHING
There are many more exciting tricks and tools in the behavioral toolbox, but this should get you started – and if not you are welcome to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or +45-23103206.