My mum, like many mums I’m sure, used to say
If the wind changes you’ll stay like that
It was usually while I was pulling some sort of horrific face; stretching my mouth up towards my eyes as far as I could, in the vein hope of scaring my younger sister Lucy. I stopped believing her after a while as my face never stuck but the first time she ever said it I stopped pulling a face straight away.
I’ve been involved in a lot of change using social technologies over the last 2 years and in that time I’ve realised how difficult it can be to make change stick.
I left Direct Line Group in the midst of a change programme where social tools were adding real value, helping create and develop the culture of a new organisation. Sadly it wasn’t something that was replicated in L&D or HR to the degree that I believed in or that would fundamentally change how we did things.
I joined DPG to put social at the heart of what we do and have been working with the DPG team to build an online community that will give us the ability to engage with customers like never before. It will change the way in which we facilitate our CIPD programmes for ever. There is no doubt in my mind if used to its potential it will greatly enhance the whole experience. I’m also excited by the prospect of building capability in using social tools in the next generation of newly qualified L&D and HR professionals.
Building a case for using social tools can be relatively easy as anyone can describe their potential value. It’s another thing to support and change someone’s behaviour to create value for themselves or for others on a regular basis using these tools. It can be relatively easy describing what it feels like to be part of an organisation, team or group that is open; one that encourages transparent communication and rewards sharing and collaboration as core behaviours. It’s a lot harder doing it and making it a reality.
Moving from a “You are what you know” to a “You are what you share” mindset takes time. It can take a long time, especially in organisations that don’t yet use or provide any sort of social tools or understand their potential. Longer still in those organisations that don’t encourage and/or place value on their employees working together, learning together and performing MORE effectively together. Sadly, there are still those organisations and individuals who think they don’t have to change; blissfully unaware of the opportunities available to them and ignorant to the fact that the world is changing around them.
People need to be motivated to change, in the case of social tools the need to buy-in to the WHY is far more important than the what and how but is the bit that is often missed. People need to understand the WIIFM and the WIIFO. It’s not the tools that will make social add value, it’s people and their behaviours that will make this change stick and ultimately lead to success. The success of the DPG community is not about the platform we’ve selected or the technology and functionality . It will be made a success by those who use it, how they use it and the interactions and conversations that take place on it.
It will be made a success by the people who believe that making this change is the right thing to do and who are willing to lead and to role model. It will be made a success by people who are willing to step out of their own comfort zone and help others whilst embracing change themselves. Having the vision and guts to follow it through is what makes change stick.
So don’t wait for the wind to change and hope that something happens to make change stick as you could be waiting for a long time.
Don’t leave it to someone else as you might not like what you’re stuck with.
Have vision and guts and be prepared to come out of your comfort zone in order to demonstrate value and role model the right behaviours to others. Keep doing it, be brave and don’t stop when the going gets tough, things don’t go to plan or people don’t get it. They will.
Forget the wind, that’s how to make change stick.