Successful Change Management: It's About Knowing

Successful Change Management: It's About Knowing

By Kim Goodwin 


As we enjoy this joyous season, I wish for a special gift for myself and others. It is the gift of knowing. You may wonder why knowing is so important. First of all, let me define ‘Knowing’. According to the Miriam Webster dictionary, Knowing is defined as ‘having intelligence about something, or being keenly aware or astute’.  Knowing is a key ingredient to successful change management. With a high percentage of failed changes, it is important that we look at this simple, yet powerful ingredient. Specifically, there are four aspects of knowing that are key to successful change management.  

Know yourself. First of all, it is important to know yourself. By knowing your personality style, your values and what is important to you, you will be prepared for the journey in whatever change comes your way. As you reflect on what matters to you, you can prepare yourself for the emotions we experience as part of any change. According to the Bridges Transition model, we may experience a sense of ‘loss’ as we move to a new process, system, relationship or way of working.  From a neuroscience perspective, we know that change is perceived by our brain either as a threat or as a reward. Emotions we experience in our reaction to the threat may vary from person to person.   

Ensure others know us. Second, in order to ensure successful change management, we need to ensure others know us – really know us. That means we need to get past the uncomfortableness and get vulnerable, share what we like, what we need and to what we aspire. As we each start our journey for whatever change is in front of us, we know we will need the support to get to the other side – a new system, a new process or a new working relationship. In order for our manager, peers or direct reports to provide that support, they need to know us, really know us. 

Truly know others. Plus, in order to ensure successful change management, we need to truly know others. That means that we need to know what they like and don’t like, their fears and aspirations and their personality style and values. Only then can we have the level of engagement and trust that is crucial to adopt a new process, adapt a function for the future or embrace a new culture.  

Know the skills and qualities needed. Lastly, we can only adopt a new way of working once we know the new workstyle and the skills, qualities and values that are required. Once we have the knowledge of what is expected, we can build our capability by closing any gaps. 

With these four elements in place, we are poised to successfully transition to the new workstyle, whatever that means. My wish to you…. May you receive the precious gift of knowing at this wonderous time of year. 


Join our Change Management Simulation to experience how it feels and what it takes to implement change successfully.


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