(By Loyd Ford) You’ve just been instructed to share with your team a corporate change, or introduce a different approach to a project so the company can move ahead or reach new goals. How can you help people on your team with change?
- People don’t like that “out of control” feeling. Before you introduce change, consider framing the change in a way that places them in an empowered position where they can feel some control over the new direction. The more out of control people feel with change, the more they will resist. Creating an environment of transparency and a path for them to choose will help people accept and embrace the change.
- As humans, we are generally attached to “the way we’ve always done it.” People find comfort in what they know. Usually, “the way we’ve always done it” isn’t that bad. After all, if something is horrible, change is really easy. However, if it is just okay, change often meets resistance. It may not be the best way to do something, but we trust what we have experience with over and over. To encourage a positive change, take care to fully explain why the adjustment is to be made and give examples of how similar changes have meant specific benefits to other organizations and how it has made the process better for people like those on your team today.
- People resist uncertainty. Do everything to prepare your change in a way that consistently reduces or eliminates uncertainty, even in your initial presentation of the change. Show specific benefits the change will bring to your organization and let people experience the feeling of why this will be better. Encourage the people on your team understand that they are an important part of the process and important to the company. This reduces personal uncertainty and gives people an easier way to accept and become part of the change.
- Most people already have a point of view on specific subjects, including the process or thing you are changing. Being successful introducing change can be enhanced by thinking about how your team members already see the process and the specifics of your subject, and preparing in advance to present the change with their existing perspective in mind. In other words, try to incorporate into your presentation common team beliefs about the way things are done now, and shorten the distance between that and the change. This helps people come to the transition easier.
- People often look for evidence from another source that the change is good before truly accepting it. Give specific quotes from people your team respects, others in the industry who have made the change, and offer quotes from multiple sources about how the change has created improvements in process and productivity. Trial lawyers have to create influence for changing people’s minds every day. You’ll often hear them build confidence in their client’s story by making it seem that large groups of people already agree with the outcome they want a jury to believe. One thing we know: People will join a crowd to avoid being seen as out of step with others.
Change is difficult for people because we are more attached to the status quo than people often realize. We feel safe with “the way we’ve always done things.” But you know that the only thing that is really certain about life is life constantly changes. You’ve heard the saying, “People don’t always remember what you did, but they always remember how you made them feel.” When you have to introduce change, consider how the change will make people feel and invest your time preparing with these tips so people can successfully engage and be a part of the change. How you present change can make you more effective in your job and more valuable to an organization. Do these things and you can prepare your team for almost any kind of change successfully.
Loyd Ford can be reached at 864.448.4169 or [email protected]