The process of making change work isn’t easy as it seem to be. In fact, as commonly said, there are only three key things which are certain in life; change, taxes and death. These days, the main character that differentiates the best managers among others is their ability to assist their teams to quickly traverse organizational changes in order to take advantage of any responsibilities rather than being overwhelmed by that change.
The main issue here isn’t about the change itself, but how fast you can get people under you to first accept the newly introduced change. After that, you need to drive your team forward in realizing the intended benefits, which will determine how efficient and effective you can be as a manager.
3 Tips on Making Change Work
1. Communicate early, positively and more often
Surprise is one of the things people resent about change. Immediately you hear about an impending organizational change, it is necessary to be proactive about collecting your facts about that change. You also need to understand the actual and compelling reasons for it, asses the possible positives and quickly assemble your team for proper session of communication before rumor goes viral around the company.
Always remember that the focus of your team tends to expand. Therefore, individuals with a pessimistic tendency usually tend to exaggerate the negatives concerning the changes without giving clear or any facts at all. These will definitely distract the team from critical duties and leads to unnecessary stress among your team members. Timely and proper communication are also critical in nipping the rumor mill in the organization. During such periods, silence, especially from you is advised.
Before initiating any discussion with your group, try to be in their position and try to imagine what exactly their concerns could be all about the upcoming change in the organization. Your objective from the communication you make is to leave your employees with a sense of certainty, optimism and confidence about the change.
For instance, if your team is left with a feeling being empowered, you will have a better chance of the organizational change realizing all benefits resulting from it. It is important to be prepared to empathetically, positively and confidently respond to all questions they might ask you.
Some of the most common questions asked are as follows:
- How will the change impact my role?
- What benefits will this change bring to the company?
- Why do we need a change?
- How will this change affect the current situation in the organization?
- What assistance, support, or resources are available for change?
These are just some of the several questions and concerns to think about before initiating the process of communication about any change in the company.
When introducing organizational change, face-to-face communication works best. Your staff members will look to you as a manager for confidence and certainty as well as complete congruence in words that are reflected by open, positive and confident body language, which reveals your true inner convictions about that change; it also sets your employees at ease. Having a face-to-face communication with your staff is also critical in giving you a chance of gauging the level of support and resistance, which is present, hence plan future sessions of communication to develop what you have already done.
When communicating, try as much as possible to be honest and open about the change. If you lack enough facts, let your employees know that that is the case and reinforce your total commitment to keep them well informed. Also, make sure you always follow up your commitment of informing your team about change. By doing that, will strengthen, trust that their top management are really empathetic and they are valued too.
2. Strengthen commitment through involvement
Involving your team when communicating change is very important and helps them to learn more. Always try to ask them about the change. You can use some leading questions, which will help employees come up with the same conclusions as the management about any decision associated with change. For example, rather than saying, “this is exactly what the company is doing”, you can say, “This is exactly the trend or situation”. Ask them what they would do in that situation. Listen to their responses and note them down to come up with a common conclusion at the end of your session. The more your employees feel like they have been actively involved and consulted about the change in the company, the higher the level of their commitment and buy-in will be to the overall implementation plan.
3. Capture hearts and then minds of your employees
A common mistake most managers make, especially when introducing change is to focus on the presentation of logical reasons for the organizational change. Facts, charts and statistics usually appeal to the minds of individuals, but more often lacks to appeal when it comes to moving those people to adapt to the change. Always remember that individuals do not make changes for logical reasons, but for emotional reasons.
In this case, you need to make a sense of excitement, desire and urgency about the change. Fear, negativity and apathy will only result in certain predictable patterns of behavior, which will not lead to any desired or expected positive outcomes. Instead, try to use videos, stories and emotive language, which engage both minds and hearts of your employees.
Generally, people are not easily moved by the need to increase revenue and productivity, grow wallet share, and arrest declining market-share, but motivated to increase job security, experience greater work satisfaction, advance their career, improve work-life balance and to make a difference to all of their clients, family and peers as well.
In conclusion, to be able to manage organizational change in an effective way, you need to communicate early, more often and positively in order successfully empower your employees with a great sense of certainty. Always get their buy-in and commitment by involving them in the process of decision-making. Additionally, to build a sense of passion and urgency about the change, try to find some creative ways of communicating in a way that first captures the hearts of your team, then their minds. Making change work can be a daunting task if these great tips are not taken into proper considerations.
Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.