It is an interesting experience to introduce a change in your organization. As exciting as that may sound, many who have tried have often left disheartened and frustrated while trying to manage the attitudes of various groups of people. Here are some of the common types of people we come across while implementing a system wide change.
- Excitement: Some people love variety, and want to shake up the system all the time.
- Anger: Other employees think the way things used to be done is the only way things should be done.
- Hesitation: In some cases, employees know that change needs to happen, but they’re worried about venturing into the unknown.
- Duplicity: These employees cheer about change while you’re looking at them — and then discourage it in every way they can.
- Grief: To these people, the company looks unfamiliar, and they feel as though they no longer belong.
The important aspect of enabling your staff to embrace change is to guide them through the cycle of change, leading them and constantly reassuring them. Here are few steps you can follow:
Pick a symbol:
This is a simple tool that can help drive a sense of purpose in your team if utilized well. If you are switching to a new system, put up visible markers and reminders about this.
Build a coalition:
Make teams of people from varied sections. Choose the enthusiastic people who find most value in the system change and bring them together. They are the best ones to lead the change and eventually train their colleagues.
Share your vision:
It is important that the team understands why they need to change to the new system. Show them the benefits. The more clear you make this picture to them, the more they will buy into it and work for it. And repeat it enough times till they gain confidence in that vision and take it up on themselves to execute the change.
- Make the future sound exciting: Frame the challenge as something inspiring and empowering. Explain why your employees should see this time as an exciting opportunity. Focus on the big picture, beyond the day–to–day worries.
- Have a plan: Change is scary. Ease anxieties by providing an outline of what’s to come in the future. Perhaps the transition will happen over the course of months or years; break down the stages so they are easily understood. Then, move full speed ahead.
Celebrate short-term wins:
A big change takes a long time to accomplish, and people can feel discouraged when it doesn’t happen quickly. It is important to make sure everyone sees and aligns with the progress you make. Small celebrations on completing different steps in a phased transition goes a long way in giving trust and confidence to your team and incentivizes them to work further towards the goal.
Let employees vent:
Even the most positive employees feel frustrated by change. It’s important to let them air out their feelings. When your workers express themselves openly, you learn about glitches in the workflows that you didn’t anticipate. You also discover who might need additional support.
There is no alternative to communication. It is with constant regular communication and repetition that a message gets imbibed into someone. You should always make it a point to communicate the need and the benefits as a clear vision repeatedly.
Keep momentum rolling:
As you get closer to your goal and people start enjoying some benefits of the new system, you’ll feel momentum building. Harness that momentum of change, and don’t let it slip away from you. Momentum becomes synergy.