I’ve always been a change agent and an ideas person, seeing new opportunities and potential all around me. I get excited about changing things up to improve. While I get excited and energized by change, my team members may not be. Why? Because change is difficult. It means stepping out of your comfort zone and adopting new behaviors and habits. While I’m thinking, “New and Improved.” They’re thinking, “If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.”
Like it or not, change is constant and necessary to maintain a competitive edge. Yet when you thrust change upon employees, many will vehemently resist, seeing the change as a threat and possibly widening the “us vs them” mindset.
While resistance to change is natural, it doesn’t have to be a chronic source of contention for leaders once you understand your role as change agents.
Step One: Preparation
Prepare – At this phase, you are focused on getting ready to make the change.
- Gather data – what is the baseline and how does it compare to best practices?
- Articulate why the change is beneficial (or necessary). But don’t communicate it yet.
- Identify stakeholders and consider how the change will impact them.
- Define metrics – what does success look like?
- Communicate the why and get stakeholder input.
At this point, you should expect the resisters to appear. Remember that while only a few speak up, others are resisting in silence. They need information.
Communicate, communicate, communicate. People need to understand the “why” behind the change. Be prepared to answer, “What’s in it for me?”.
Step Two: Design
Design workflow with input
- Share workflow design with stakeholders to get their input.
- Remain open to feedback and modify as necessary.
- Thank people for their input.
Step Three: Empowerment
Empower the team and celebrate wins.
- Avoid micromanaging the change. A change agent is an influencer, not a controller. Get and keep people excited.
- Celebrate milestones and early victories.
- Give personal recognition.
Step Four: Measure
Measure and share results.
- Metrics were established in step one and should be re-visited regularly.
- Share the results and give recognition while course-correcting areas that may be lagging.
Step 5: Be visible as change agents
Commit to being visible and fully present during the change to show your support. This is important for the project manager as well as senior executives. Being present sends a strong message that you care and are committed to the team’s success.
Resistance to change can grind the best plans to a halt. By anticipating, planning, and communicating effectively through major and minor changes, you’ll be able to empower your team and elevate them to new heights.
When we work with organizations, we set them up for success helping manage change. See how we can help your organization by contacting us today at (866) 686-7672 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, set up a free 30-minute consultation today.Tags: change agent, change management, Communication, Leadership, resistance to change