If you have ever watched a child hold on to a favorite toy, want the same story read over and over, or had them ask to watch the same Disney movie for the 500th time, then you will realize how ingrained we are to resist change. It starts when we are young and it follows us for the rest of our lives. We want things to be familiar. We want to know what we can count on day after day. Charles Kettering has said, “The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress.” Basically, we are going to have to deal with change in our lives at some point to be successful whether that is in our personal lives or our professional lives. Unfortunately one of the biggest changes that we have to deal with in this day and age is change in technology. We have emerged from a world of paper and pen to a world that doesn’t even know how to write in cursive. Now that is a big change.
Fortunately, or unfortunately as the case may be, technology continues to change in the Multifamily Housing industry. New software continues to be developed that helps to make us more productive and make the lives of our residents easier as well. Changing from one software program to another means managing the change that comes with it. While it is sometimes called the “soft” side of change, managing the people side of a change is often the most challenging and critical component of an organizational transformation. It is getting people on board and participating in the change that makes the difference. Individuals will have to do their jobs differently, and it is the degree to which they change their behaviors and work processes that will make or break the project. The “soft” side of change is many times actually the “harder” side of change. We really like carrying around our fuzzy blankets for some reason.
We can always ignore the stresses of change on our team or residents but the success of any initiative will depend on the outcome of that change. For those that are resistant, they may need additional help, encouragement, and guidance. To ignore any resistance will put a project at risk for failure.
Keys to effective change management involve the following:
- Awareness of the need for change
- Desire to participate and support the change
- Knowledge on how to change
- Ability to implement required skills and behaviors
- Reinforcement to sustain the change.
Although training plays a very large part in helping to transition someone from one software program to another, it is not the only factor for success. Every project should include additional considerations that will help in creating awareness, desire, knowledge, ability and then reinforcement. Some of those things may be simple awareness campaigns that introduce the new tools and processes and how they will help to make their lives better. Another may be fun contests to get people excited about trying something new. And let’s not forget the simple act of following up after the change to make sure that everyone is doing ok. All of these things will aid in a successful change and only then will your team or your residents be able to give up their fuzzy blankets.