Help Others Through Change
Updated: Mar 17
My oldest child just registered for high school for next year. Which makes me feel sad and excited. And old. It makes me feel old.
When we talk about the change, we share that sense of excitement and dread together. But yet I tend to want to focus the conversation on all the positives and how it will be great for her in the long run.
Heck, high school somehow worked out for me, I say. But she isn't buying it.
As a leader at work, it can be similar to want to jump to all of the positives of change or expect that employees to just fall in line. Because why shouldn't they? You and the leadership team worked hard on the change. You've looked at the change every which way. You've got this.
Your employees, however, haven't been part of that work. They didn't have a say. And they don't know if you've got this or not. They more than likely may not even understand why the change is needed.
Yes, you need to share the "why" around the change and the vision towards the future. But rather than talking about all the positives of change, support the transition for your employees by focusing on:
Progress versus perfection. Share with others that the change you're making may not be perfect - but it is meant to make progress to improve the organization. The emphasis should be that the change is an attempt to make an improvement - and that change will more than likely come again soon.
What isn't changing. Leaders can get so caught up in sharing what is going to be better and/or different, that they can forget to share the things that are staying the same.
Share frequently. When teams have worked so hard on deciding on a change, it can feel exhausting to keep talking about it. Be prepared to continue the conversation beyond the initial announcement.
Address things quickly. Employees will be less resistant to change if they feel they have a voice in the change. If possible, allow people to voice their concerns or the issues they are experiencing as the change takes place.
Involve others in the change. Similarly, employees will take more ownership if they feel they are involved in the process. Allow employees to address and solve problems or questions that arise.
Companies win more when they and their employees are able to successfully navigate change. In order to win at changing, however, companies need to help others get on board to that change - rather than waiting for others to fall in line.