Humans naturally resist change, but whether we like it or not, change is necessary for growth. This applies to multiple facets of life, especially the business landscapes we operate in.
Despite acknowledging the importance of change, we too often remain stuck in our ways, rather than focusing on how we can advance our aspirations. To gain a competitive edge, it’s important to change before your hand is forced, remaining one step ahead of the game.
Change often takes on an analytical persona, but numbers are often an inaccurate portrayal of events. Rather than focusing on an end goal, it’s better to consider the needs of those responsible for implementing change: your fellow employees. This will improve performance, and ensure your team is willing to embrace change.
Change can be disruptive, but focusing on long-term benefits will help you alleviate frustrations. Fear and doubt are natural emotions, but these emotions can be overcome with a well-thought out change management strategy. To reap the benefits of a successful change management strategy, here are some organizational tips that will make your life easier.
Establish Clear Expectations
Employees feel secure when they settle into a daily work routine. If they rarely experience change, workers slowly grow to accept things. This can cultivate rudimentary behavior that isn’t capable of evolving, but by continually communicating your company’s vision for change, you can avoid this pitfall.
If employees understand your dynamic objectives, they won’t feel betrayed when you implement change. Communication is critical for embracing business transitions, because employees will appreciate the inevitably of growth. Reinforce this train of thought throughout meetings, and keep your message consistent with your mission statement. This will align your team’s approach to work with company goals. When shifts happen, staff will be more willing to accept them.
When employees are involved from the beginning, they’ll feel the urge to actively participate in change management. You can leverage different skillsets for maximum advantage, allowing staff to offer valuable advice. You can delegate tasks that contribute to your end goal, avoiding any one party shouldering the burden alone. With shared responsibility for a transition, staff will experience a sense of self-worth, and feel more in control. When workers are encouraged to solve problems, creativity elevates and the future success of the company will be in good hands.
See Through the Eyes of Your Employees
When change is imminent, staff concerns will be centered on the ‘how will this affect me?’ principle. Change will affect productivity, so this should be accounted for. From an employee’s perspective, adapting to a new environment is no easy task, so it’s important for you to see things from their perspective. Staff wellbeing is a number one priority, especially when you expect them to embrace change with open arms. A cut and dry approach will cause friction, where staff will believe you’re making their life difficult. By using empathy, you’ll understand staff need time to adjust, and if you expect their support, you too should be supportive. Talk through any problems, and reassure your team they have as much time as necessary to usher in a new era of work. This is especially important when changing management.
Don’t Paint a Negative Change as a Positive
If you have to announce a negative change, you’d be wise to call a spade a spade. Transparency will help you build trust with your team, rather than aggravate them with dishonesty. If you take your employees for fools, they’ll be less likely to embrace change. Highlighting a negative change as a positive one is a mistake, because they’ll view this as condescending and insincere. For example, if you’re changing management, state the facts and acknowledge difficulties with grace. They’ll react better to negativity if you highlight measures to safeguard them from similar difficulties going forward. This should emphasize your plan for future growth.
If you’ve been working on a change behind the scenes, you’ll appreciate the effort that’s gone into weighing things up. When you announce a big change to staff, employees will have the same fears and uncertainties, in spite of your eagerness to move forward. Patience is a virtue, and if you want to create a culture that embraces change, give everyone the time necessary to work through differences at their own pace.
Changes affect everyone differently, and though it seems cliche, a positive mental attitude should be adopted from the top down. Enthusiasm will rub off on staff, who will stay motivated to meet common goals. A dedicated staff force will positively react to change, and view new initiatives as a challenge. Even the prospect of changing management can be viewed positively, because you’ll be ushering in an exciting new era.
Considering the technological age we live in, changes are commonly implemented on a digital scale. Technological advancements are difficult to comprehend, but should never hold you back. Fortunately, there are many digital solutions to your change requirements. These can help your organization seamlessly transition into a new realm, cutting through the digital static for you.
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.