This article discusses the fear of process improvement. A culture of continuous improvement is crucial to organizational performance and survival. Yet most reports, such as John Kotter’s classic Harvard Business Review article “Leading Change: Why Transformation Effort Fail,” show that few attempts at fundamental change are very successful, a few are utter failures, and most fall somewhere in between, with a distinct tilt to failure.
The author offers up three effective ways to embrace fear of change:
- Show respect to the people whose work will change by getting them involved in defining the improvements. People resist change that is imposed on them. But if they help define the changes, they will own them.
- Welcome failure in experiments of new ways of working as a way to learn; remove the downside risks and provide upside. Experiments allow us to learn and improve. . You should also give them some of the upside from making those changes — profit sharing and promotions. And by training them, you can demonstrate your commitment to their development.
- Hire self-starters who are committed to your mission. Your employees will embrace change that furthers the mission of the organization if they view the value of that change to the customer as greater than the pain of change. Organizations with cultures that value continuous improvement are far better at changing their processes and staying competitive.
What do you find effective when you sense a fear of process improvements in your employees?