Change is risky. Leaving the strong, secure hold of the present and moving toward a future that’s uncertain and unclear is alarming.
When we decide to change, we have to deal with the great chasm between the comforting, familiar past and the new, unfamiliar future: the delta. The truth is change doesn’t happen overnight but instead happens in the delta state. Learning about the challenges the delta presents and how to manage those challenges is critical to your company’s success.
Many factors make living with the delta hard:
- People don’t know what’s expected of them
- They have to learn how to operate in a new way, and this can be uncomfortable
- They have to leave what has become familiar, and this triggers feelings of sadness
- The security and ease of the old ways disappear
- The bulk of change dollars is spent here
The delta is inherently uncomfortable, but it’s also one of the biggest assets of a change effort. It’s an opportunity for people to test new skills and experiment with new ideas. Managing the challenges it presents helps people move towards a future that they want to be a part of.
How to manage the challenges of the delta:
- Allocate the dollars required for the change or explain why dollars aren’t available. If the dollars aren’t available, lower the future expectations, provide alternative resources, or prepare for a less successful change.
- Allocate time required for this change or explain why time is not available.
- Identify and empower effective change agents.
- Implement a reward and reinforcement system. Recognize your employees’ efforts and progress and reinforce their efforts.
- How can understanding the delta state help you drive a more seamless and successful change effort?