The Leader Magazine

DEC 2017

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Paul W. Thurman is professor of management and analytics at Columbia University in New York. results in blame games and irrational behavior; people will do anything to keep the old, familiar ways of doing things. But there are some ways to move forward – to get closer to the implementation phase of change and to make it a lasting force. John Kotter, of the Harvard Business School, articulates eight "solutions," or tactics, that leaders can use to create change that lasts. As Figure 4 illustrates, some of these are more short-term (the ones in red) while others may take longer to put into place. For example, establishing a sense of urgency is a helpful way to get people to change. Telling people the building is on fire will definitely get them to evacuate! However, this sense of urgency has to be valid and authentic; we cannot just create a fictitious crisis in order to get people to change their ways. This will destroy trust! Instead, explain why the change is needed – or why the current process is not as helpful or as value-added as another, new way might be. Communicating a vision – where are we going with this change and how will we know when we get there? – is also quite powerful. All too often, people are told to just change … but they don't understand the destination state or what the world will look like once the change is made successfully. And getting folks involved in the process of change is a great tactic, too. Empowering employees and teams to help both design and implement new and improved solutions is a much better way than to just "share the PowerPoint" with them and expect (or hope and pray) they will "just do it." Finally, creating – and broadly sharing and publicizing – short-term wins or small victories can be very powerful. All too often change efforts are about the "big win" or the "massive change" that is required. This might be true in the long term, but unless people can see small changes being made – and value being added – change efforts might lose momentum and fizzle. Now, to convince others But how do you get others (your team, subordinates or superiors) bought into a new viewpoint? How do you get them to change their ways? You know things need to change, but how do you get them to "see" what you see? William Bridges developed a change model, shown in Figure 5, that helps us understand tactics for getting others on board. Note that in the Bridges model, the first step to change is actually making sure we understand that something has ended. We have to first explain to others what is stopping before we can show them what (new) has to be started. This is a powerful message! All too often, change programs create additional work steps, processes, and expense. Instead, making clear what ends might help people embrace change more quickly. The second step refers back to Kotter's empowerment tactic. Instead of telling your teams what to do, let them be a part of the change process – designing new methods, tactics, allocations, etc. Then, in the third step, after our teams understand what's ending and are an active, critical part of what needs to start, we start to see adoption and implementation happen more quickly. Thus, change and risk-taking is nothing new (especially in corporate real estate), but thinking how people take risks – and how we get others to take them, too – is very helpful if we want to create change not out of fear but out of necessity in ways that create lasting change and a culture that is more risk-tolerant. Taking risks for risk-sake isn't the plan; taking thoughtful, intelligent, measured risks – with your teams helping as part of the change process – just might help your next big real estate move, add, or change be a bigger hit than in the past. As Gandhi said, we must be the change we want to see in the world. CRE leaders are naturally good at "walking the talk," but with some additional tactics, the changes we want to see can be made more quickly – and more comfortably – for all involved. f igure 5: William b ridges Change Model *Short-term tactics highlighted in red text. f igure 4: t actics to Create Change that l asts* 36 DECEMBER 2017 th E l E a DER F E A T U R E A R T I C L E Source: Kotter, Harvard Business School

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