- Preparation - has two stages of contact (how you get introduced to the change) and awareness (where know that a change is coming, but don't know how it will impact you)
- Acceptance - understanding is the first part of acceptance or where people comprehend the change and are now able to judge it. If there is a negative perception to the change it can lead to resistance and decreased support. If people judge it to be positive it leads to the second part of acceptance or positive perception. This is will lead to a decision to support the change and commit the time, energy, and resources to get it done.
- Commitment - this stage is broken into four phases. The first one is installation or where the first opportunity for true, committed action arises (e.g. - a pilot). The next phase is adoption or looking at the extended implications of the change or a longer term testing period. Institutionalization or the third phase is when employees no longer view the change as tentative, but it is now a norm or habit. It is not, however, fully in the employees hearts. The last phase, therefore, is Internalization where the hearts and minds of the employees are both won over and they own the change.
Lack of commitment is one of the primary reasons that winners are so rare as it is not easy. Conner says that resilient organizations don't take commitment for granted, but focus on the following six guidelines to building commitment:
- People respond to change at different intellectual and emotional rates - often our intellect accepts the change at a quicker rate than the emotional one so have to deal with the difference in how you implement the change.
- Commitment is expensive so don't order if you can't pay for it -it takes a lot of time, energy, and money to commit to a change.
- Don't assume commitment will be generated without a plan of action - sponsors, advocates, and targets all need plans of action for ensuring that commitment to the change is actually implemented.
- Keep in mind that building commitment is a developmental process - it takes time and must come after the stages of awareness, understanding, etc.
- Either build commitment or prepare for the consequences - the greater the significance and disruption the change is going to create, the greater the need for commitment.
- Slow down to increase speed - this allows for open communication, involving employees, fostering empowerment, and developing synergistic work relationships thereby generating genuine commitment.
In Chapter 9 Conner continues by talking about the fifth support pattern of Commitment to Change. Successful change is rooted in commitment and winners recognize the level of commitment needed for a change to be implemented well. They devote time, money, endurance, persistence, loyalty and the creativity needed to make sure it is successful. Conner says there is three stages to commitment: preparation, acceptance, and commitment:
Monica Thakrar has over 18 years experience in business focused mainly on strategy, change management, leadership development, training and coaching resulting in successful implementations of large scale transformation programs.