We’re Only Human

Jul 11, 2012 No Comments by

Tip #36: Consider How Your Change May Impact Existing Relationships

Today’s post is a picture that tells a story of two ways one can view the impact of change on existing relationships. For clarity, it can help to think of your change as bringing about the end of something and the beginning of something new.

In the case of relationships you might consider the following two perspectives:

Hence, I encourage my clients to consider several relationship-based questions when implementing change:

What Relationships Will be Impacted?

In what ways?

How much time will people have to prepare and then adapt?

Who Will Be Impacted the Most?

Will anyone be asked to spend considerably less time in the future with people who have previously provided a supportive social network?

How can we ease this very personal transition?

As for social interactions… Sometimes I even ask this frank question:

“Is reducing certain social interactions actually a desired positive impact of your change?”

If so, how will this sensitive topic be addressed?

When Will the Impact Be Felt?

What’s the schedule for adoption?

Who needs time to adjust to new personalities, new ideas and new working relationships? Can any particular stakeholders be expected to experience a more difficult relational transition?

What’s the Future Look Like?

How can we help people work through the process of building new relationships?

How should we celebrate the great accomplishments and positive relationships that have been an important part of our previous experience without “getting stuck in the past?”

…and finally: How Far Will We Go With Relationship Help?

What will be the limits of our approach to helping people adapt to new relationships?

As I discussed in my recent posts about “Falling in Line” with a change -vs- “Falling in Love” with a change…  At some point we may have to have to ask our stakeholders to work through their individual relationship challenges and show steady progress with the adoption process. It can help to set the limits for these expectations early in the communication process.

We’re Only Human: Change is a human process and relationships are a big part of helping people and organizations adapt to anything new.  Consider the questions above as a starting point when you plan to account for the relationship impacts of your change.


Questions for Chatter:

  • What can go wrong if Change Agents (or Sponsors) ignore the relationship impacts of their change?
  • How can Change Agents begin to approach the topic of relationship impact without sounding “too soft”?

Change Agent Skills, Change Communication, Change Execution, Change Leadership, Stakeholder Readiness, Team Dynamics

About the author

I help people and teams succeed with big changes... never a dull moment!
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