Instead of just letting change happen and take its course, which could cause undue stress and not achieve the results you’re committed to, leaders proactively manage change through understanding, communication and patience. Consider applying the following must-do’s to manage the change occurring in your organization:
- Remember that everyone embraces change differently. Some of us are up for change, or even instigating change, because we like the variety, challenge and new opportunities. Others aren’t so eager for change to occur; they are comfortable with their predictable schedules and familiar processes. Enroll those who like – or at least readily embrace – change to lead the way for others who may need someone else to “test the waters” and tell them it’s ok. Listen to those who are more cautious because they will have some good questions and “what ifs” to consider in your plan as you execute change.
- Communicate what is changing and why the change is necessary. Keep in mind that the people affected have different approaches to change and they also “listen” differently, so consider a multi-facetted platform to communicate your change via group meetings, one-on-one conversations and email or other written announcements. In your communications, be sure to address:
- What’s changing and what’s possible by changing
- The risks if you don’t make the change
- What role each person will play throughout the change
- Next steps to move forward
- When and how often to expect updates
- Communicate some more. Check in with individuals to see how they are adapting to the change, let them share feedback or suggestions they might have, and give them an opportunity to express their concerns or apprehension, especially if they are someone who is slow to adopt change. You’ll find that you’ll help people embrace change more quickly, and they’ll remember your care and concern about them through the change – and be more willing to go through change with you in the future!
- Be patient and compassionate. If you are the one instituting change, or if your style is to readily embrace change, you might find that you want things to move faster than others do. We have to remember that change is a process and does take time and may require a change in direction because new information arises. Be patient with the process, the results and others while you stay committed to what you see is possible, and you’ll realize your desired outcome as a result.
What change are you in the midst of or about to embark on? What strategies do you have to powerfully and effectively manage change?
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