How to Manage Change Effectively in the Workplace
Change is an inevitability of life. And at work, you certainly face change on a daily basis. Whether you initiate these changes on your own or find you and teams facing transitions beyond your control, managing changes in a healthy, more strategic way can position you for better outcomes. True, getting change right is no perfect science. Because it can sometimes get messy, managing it in more effective ways takes skill, practice and, above all, patience. But as a leader, it’s part of your responsibility to bring this understanding to whatever changes you initiate or must tackle. Use this mindset to face down any fears, and you’ll find yourself more enthusiastic and capable of embracing these changes in your midst.
Here are three strategies for getting change right:
1. Get The Buy-in You Need
For the most part, people enjoy being in their comfort zone, which is why introducing a change that affects your employees’ responsibilities or the organization at large can really shake up their world. This reaction is normal. That said, you will be more likely to minimize any consequential pushback if you get consensus and buy-in up front, sponsoring the change you want to see. Do this by clearly communicating your vision for whatever is new or different, letting people know “why” change is important, necessary, inevitable, timely, etc. Then, ask for feedback and take what your people say seriously. Remain open to incorporating their suggestions and communicate back to them when you have, reinforcing their value in the process. When you do this, you’ll be more likely to build consensus, get your people onboard with the change, and succeed in driving the strategies that support it.
2. Track The Change
In a business, it’s vital to have a sense for whether changes, particularly the big ones, are working or not. After all, if you don’t track and review them, how will you know if they’re getting results, supporting productivity, helping your teams, growing revenue, etc.? The best way to do this is to monitor and measure the changes through an accountability system, such as the MAP Management System or some other proven method. Accountability systems like MAP’s put performance measurements in place so you can monitor your numbers and get a solid grasp for how effectively all vital business activities, including changes, are playing out. With this transparency, you’ve got the facts you need to either confirm and continue on with the change, course correct or quit the change altogether.
3. Support Open Communication
Change is simply going to go better if people feel they can weigh in on it from start to finish. As their leader, make sure your employees feel it’s ok to give their input and know how to do it. Provide tools and put tactics in place that facilitate feedback. This could be inviting and reminding people to share their point of view via email. It could be pulling aside a couple of people first thing every morning, asking their opinions about how a particular change is going. Or it could be carving out time in regular team meetings to check in on recent changes and ask for feedback then. Because people may feel shy or even afraid about speaking up, you may want to consider a way for them to comment anonymously. While tracking the performance of changes through an accountability system gives you important metrics and quantitative data, getting feedback from your people will provide you with the qualitative information you need. If you use both to manage and make future decisions about change, you’ll be more likely to succeed.
What are some ways to help your employees embrace change?