Managing Change

Ultimately the success or failure of the changes is highly dependent on your ability to manage the changes and get buy-in from staff. As the Harvard Business Review addressed, there is the little-known effect of the “Collaboration Blindspot.” Essentially, the collaboration blind spot is that new plans can be perceived as a threat. They cause discomfort among staff, which can disintegrate the team and culture. Even the most well laid out plans may make staff feel threatened as they don’t “see” their improved roles and responsibilities, but rather what valued responsibilities will be taken from them. As a result, they resist buying into those changes for fear their own job stability or role might be compromised.

The easiest and most effective way to handle this challenging side of change management is to address the staff’s concerns out in the open, empathize with their position, and position the changes as a benefit to them. Visualize the possible opportunities, that arise from the changes, for career growth by documenting new roles, responsibilities, goals within their Life Career Mission Statement (covered in Talent Development). And engage executives to champion the changes, follow well-defined milestones and metrics, and communicate self-accountability. Just as you build trust with your clients, you want to build trust with your team. Trust ensures staff buy-in, high change adoption, and successful results with current changes and those to come.

From the leadership and followership perspective, you must think of your business as an organism and take into account the soft human factors… the emotional issues… the political issues… the monetary issues. The techniques of being open, empathizing, visualizing, and leading will create a culture of high trust, adoption, and success.

Benefits

Change management is difficult, there is no doubt about this. It takes planning and foresight to get right. It also involves catering to the human side of your staff’s concerns; however, when done well, it helps to:

  • Improve scalability of the business
  • Allow forward progress to be made
  • Build an inclusive, healthy company culture
  • Retain key employees and attract more qualified candidates
  • Decrease stress

Exercise

As discussed in Business Planning 101, implement a project management software or use the Change Template to share ideas and benefits with the team.

Replace the standard job description with the Life Career Mission Statement document and work with the staff to draft their post-change roles, responsibilities, and goals. 

Reflect and Prioritize

As the popular adage goes, change is hard for many people to feel comfortable with. As humans, we fear the unknown and avoid the discomfort this fear induces by resisting change—even when it is for the better. Recognizing that your team may feel threatened by your proposed changes will give the opportunity to address, and hopefully eliminate, many staff concerns before they threaten to stunt your project’s success. When the staff feels comfortable with the new initiatives being implemented, they’ll be more likely to step up and support change with enthusiasm.

Please remember to add any new epiphanies and ideas to your Master Plan of Ideas and Initiatives.