The First Rule of Positive Change Management

Rebecca Mayville

Talk about positive change management Something is happening around the office. You feel it when you walk in first thing in the morning and many …

Talk about positive change management

Butterfly Something is happening around the office. You feel it when you walk in first thing in the morning and many of your colleagues are already at their desks. You hear it in the tone of voice your manager uses when she asks you if that project you’re working on is completed (although you still have two weeks till deadline). Without even realizing it, the office has collectively gone quieter, lunch breaks are shorter, and the dress code has become more professional. But all you want to do is stand up on your desk chair and shout: can we please talk about the big white butterfly in the room?

As a primary symbol of transformation, continuous improvement, and evolution, the butterfly is the ultimate symbol for change management. But even something as beautiful as a butterfly can inspire fear if too many employees are left in the dark when it comes to the details – the who, what, where, when and how – of the change. The official definition of change management is the process, tools and techniques of managing the people-side of change to achieve a required business outcome. In order to take away some of the fears associated with change, we suggest the symbol of the butterfly as a way to highlight some key lessons of positive change management that will help to keep your feet, and those of your employees, off the desk chairs.

  • Vision: The butterfly’s eyes consist of thousands of individual lenses, allowing them to see a single image clearly. The vantage point of the leader allows for the greatest visibility of all the facets that will make for a comprehensive change management plan. Sharing this vision, proactively and in a timely manner, amongst all those involved in the plan will alleviate concerns. With this knowledge, the employee at the beginning of this article would not be wondering what that big white butterfly was doing in the corner of the room; with the information provided from his leader, the big white butterfly of change would already have all its lines, colours and other intricacies shaded in.
  • Confront fear of change: There is a proverb that says “Just when the caterpillar thought that life was over, he became a butterfly.” Without the ability to move forward, we would all remain stuck on the ground, moving at a caterpillar’s pace. The wings of change allow us to move on, move quickly, and to move ever upwards. A positive change management plan will address the fears of change and encourage positive thinking for all those involved.
  • Manage the myths and realities: Who hasn’t thought at some point that staying warm and cozy in our own little cocoon would be ideal? The butterfly distinctly knows the point at which it must leave the cocoon in order to fly. Regardless of how satisfied you are in your current state, the fear of the unknown can be quite intimidating. A positive change management plan, communicated and reinforced by a positive leader, may be just the time for you to push yourself out of the cocoon and to realize your full potential.
  • Reward new behaviours: Like the colours on a butterfly’s wings, rewards for positive participation in the change management plan will perhaps vary from team member to team member (some are influenced by money while others may reap the greatest reward from a simple “thank you”). A colour coded reward system for positive participation and success of each stage of the plan will bring life and energy for those involved. Perhaps you are already familiar with the butterfly effect (not the movie starring Ashton Kutcher) – small changes can allow for a great effect on the large picture?

It is no coincidence that one of our central motifs here at CSD is the butterfly. As a symbol of transformation, continuous improvement, and evolution, it is a natural image for a company that specializes in effecting positive change management for our clients. We embrace this image as an inspiration in all the work we do, both personally and professionally.

What’s the most positive experience you have had with change management?  Share your story with us! Thanks for reading don’t forget to share/tweet/like our blog just underneath this paragraph. And don’t forget, we’re always here to help with your business efficiency needs.

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Rebecca Mayville was an associate at CornerStone Dynamics Inc.

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