“You need to be allowed to make mistakes in the beginning”

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    Illustration: Mann geht auf Steinen vorsichtig über einen Fluss

    Interview: Bob Dignen

    Do people generally react negatively to change?
    It depends very much on the environment that you’re in. If you believe this is a change that has priority for you, and you see a benefit in it, then you will support it. It also depends on the organization and how conflicting the objectiveZiel(vorstellung)objectives are that come along with the change. I would say that people generally want to ask a lot of questions, but I’m not sure that this is resistance.

    What are the reasons that lead to change slowing down, or even failing?
    People still carry out many of these changes in an old-fashioned manner, thinking that there is only one change only one at a timejeweils nur ein(e) …at a time in a company, not realizing that there are so many different changes going on at the same time and that change is all around. Clearly, there needs to be a balance in organizations between stabilizing the system and having the agilityhier: Flexibilitätagility so that things can change.
     

    When top management decides something, people often have serious difficulties understanding the reasons for the change and its benefits


    If you try to to execute sth.etw. ausführenexecute change top down, starting with leadership alignmentAusrichtung; hier: Koordinierungalignment, mobilizing middle management and then the employees, it takes far too long. Don’t forget that top management often starts implementing change after maybe years of analysing the reasons for change with consultants. And when top management decides something, it’s often far away from the realities of employees, so people have serious difficulties understanding the reasons for the change and its benefits. So, they also become somehow a victim of the change. They don’t feel responsible for it. They feel they are being controlled and start saying things like, “You have to tell me what do to” or “You have to decide”.
    Another problem is when top management doesn’t support the change — and sometimes it would be unrealistic to expect them to do so. There are always one or two who are sending conflicting messages. That creates a lot of confusion, and conflicting targets for middle management. In such a situation, they can only to wait sth. outetw. aussitzenwait it out and see which senior-management point of view wins.

     



    Nicole Anzinger is an independent consul­tant in Munich. She helps organizations to ensure sth.etw. sicherstellenensure that people do what is needed to make change successful, fulfilling the new roles and responsibilities that come with new structures. Website: Change up

    Nicola Anzinger

     

    Do people struggle to do their daily job and change at the same time?
    Definitely. You need time for change, and that’s another reason it doesn’t work — there is no time! Also, you need to be allowed to make mistakes in the beginning. If you don’t have a culture that allows you to fail, it’s difficult to change.
     

    What helps is to have someone external who sees things from a different perspective


    How useful are change consultants? Can’t organizations manage change themselves?
    I strongly believe that they can do it themselves. But what helps is to have someone external who sees things from a different perspective and sees what’s really going on. What I do is show organizations how new methods, such as the “agileagil, flexibel; hier: agiles Management betreffendagile” approach, can help them to implement change in an emergingentstehend; hier: situationsbezogenemerging way — not so much controlling change but letting it flow and to evolvesich entwickelnevolve. I also help the right stakeholderInteressengruppe; hier: Akteur(in)stakeholders to connect and work together, because often when I come into an organization, it is blocked as a result of the many different opinions. So I see my role as asking the right questions rather than having the right answers. People have a good sense of what the right thing to do is, much better than I do. But I’m the one asking the right questions and helping people to decide more consciously what needs to be done next.

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