Just a Spoon Full of Sugar


Change is always bitter medicine – it rarely matters how simple the requested change; it requires extra effort and sometimes considerable risk.  The most dangerous thing you can do when asking people to make a change is to deny the bitter taste, but then you move on to solutions and to applying the best change management principles you’ve collected.  When it’s possible, incorporating some fun can help – just make sure it’s fun for the people making the change.

Create a Win for Early Adopters

To encourage immediate application of changes, build in some kind of “win” for the people who try it early.  Most of us are subconsciously asking, “What’s in it for me?” so give them something.

  • “Wins” are not always monetary.
  • An opportunity to create part of the solution can be a “win” in some teams.
  • Recognition is a “win” for most employees.
  • Contest prizes can be reasonable ways to reward employees for the effort.
  • Always consider the culture; sometimes the “win” is simply getting the client to ‘ring the bell’ and say they like the change.

Celebrate Incremental Progress

Sometimes true business results are months away, but progress must be made consistently.  Break the progress up into targeted actions or measured results and celebrate along the way.

  • Measuring and celebrating consistency of effort is often more powerful than praising the ‘go-to guy’ that steps into the spotlight at the last minute.
  • Track and praise examples of critical skills, habits, behaviors and ideas that move productivity in the right direction.
  • Celebrate the reduction of old habits as well as the building of new ones.
  • Make celebrations simple – and cheap – enough to regularly remind everyone that this change will be worth the effort.
  • Match celebrations to your culture: confetti in one office can be as powerful as cash in another.
  • If you promise rewards – follow through – or progress could come to a dead stop.

No matter the size or shape of the business change, if you ignore the effort it takes, you will not see the results you envisioned.  Most of us are served a daily diet of change, but if you must create critical change with critical timing – don’t get chopped – get help.

Pepperbox Solutions has supported workforces through acquisitions, restructures, re-locations, reductions in force, and business closings.  Connect with us.