A Better Way to Do Change
Fun Fact: If you keep a goldfish in a dark room it will eventually turn white. Not so fun fact: If you keep your employees in the dark about a major change you’re planning, they’ll turn surly, uncooperative and disengage.
A major change in your organization can be planned or unplanned. Either way your people can make or break you.
Change is a process. A word of caution: As the leader, you’re probably a few steps ahead of your team. You’ve had time to think about it, consider all the angles and become convinced it’s a wise move.
Have a little patience with those you delegate to implement it. They also have to go through their own process. Sometimes what appears as resistance is just a need for them to catch up.
A great way to overcome this is to keep your people involved and informed at each phase, get consensus early on and have them collaborate with you on the execution.
The results will be employee engagement and empowerment; increased productivity and alignment around the new direction you’re heading. Here’s what you need to know about how you and your people go through change. It’s a five step process.
You’re not even thinking about a change. You don’t recognize that a change is needed, are not willing to consider it, or maybe you’re even resisting. Often, in this stage, someone other than you is the major proponent of the change. Perhaps an outside advisor, a manager, or a business associate advises you to get organized, initiate a new process, follow a rising market trend, buy a commercial property or hire a key manager.
2: “Thinking About It”
You’re a few months from being ready to make the change, but have a strong inclination to do it. You’re beginning the take the idea on as your own and visualizing what your business would be like if you made the move.
In these first two stages you’re in a cognitive mode; gathering information, talking to other CEO’s, reading industry publications and deciding if the rewards outweigh the risks.
3: “Almost There”
You’ve made the decision but still a couple months out from actually taking action. You’re setting a target date for launch of a new product, documenting a process you want to implement, getting bids from your vendors, conducting feasibility studies, assigning a team to the project or conducting the candidate interviews.
4. “The Launch”
You’re acting on the plan; launched the product, initiated and trained on the procedures, begun construction, or hired the new employee. We often think that the transformation is complete at this stage. But we all know that anything new requires some fine tuning. You may need to revise a contract or a timeline, temporarily assign the team to another project or replace the employee you just hired.
5. “Now it’s Part of My Business”
You’re six months after the launch. The challenge is: don’t backslide. It’s easy to get busy and drop the new procedure, get complacent or become impatient with the progress and take the task back on yourself.
Have key indicators you look at regularly to monitor the success of the new venture.
If it’s time for your business to make a major change:
• Set aside some quality time with your leadership team and brainstorm your approach. How will you take it to the entire organization to keep everyone engaged, recognizing the value and discovering how it will affect them or their department?
• Prioritize by what is most crucial, what is the easiest and most cost effective to implement, or where you have buy in from your team to begin.
• Have no more than 5 major goals or initiatives at any one time.
• Engage a coach or business associate to hold you accountable.