In a recent Harvard Business Review article titled, “Understanding the Fear of Process Improvement,” article author Brad Power discusses the concept of change within an organization. In the article, he a few fundamental questions including:
- Why aren’t leaders on board?
- Why doesn’t culture change?
- How do you change culture?
Power suggests that asking questions such as, “Why don’t we try new practices?” and “Why does is take a long time to change habits?” can help uncover fears that are preventing change.
If, as Powers suggests, the fear of change is the root cause of failures to create a culture of continuous improvement, then how do you over come that fear? According to Powers, there are three effective ways to embrace fear of change.
Overcoming the Fear of Process Improvement
- Incorporate Those Involved
Allow those whose work will change to be involved in defining the improvements.
- Provide a Safe Place to Fail
Welcome failure in experiments of new ways to of working as a way to learn and improve. Removing the downside risks, such as being fired, and provide upsides to making those changes, such as profit sharing and promotions.
- Hire Employees who Support Your Organization’s Mission
Hire self-starters who are commitment to your mission. According to Powers, “employees will embrace change that furthers the mission of the organization if they view the value of that change to the customer as greater than the pain of change.”
SOUND OFF: What fears have held your organization back from improving processes? How have you worked to overcome those fears?