Change is a constant in our lives. All around us, technologies, processes, people, ideas, and practices often change, affecting the way we perform both in our lives and our businesses. Leaders need tools to implement changes more smoothly and effectively and to have those changes be accepted and implemented by their teams. Leaders need to know how to manage the change process itself.
First Things First
Identifying the need for change is a giant step in evolution for the business, customers, and associates. A leader deciding to advance with the changing times by improving is the first step in the change process. The phrase, “We have always done it this way,” is a death sentence.
A simple way to start is to gather data from all available sources by sharing the vision, mission, and reason for the change process. Next is to gather data regarding the different aspects of the change; tools, process, staffing, KPIs, etc.
- What is being changed? What is the perceived need for the change?
- Who will be impacted by the change?
- How long will it take to implement the change?
- What will be the result of the change in place? What will be the result if the change does not occur?
Non-ATI members: Do you know how to identify resistance to change and manage the change process to success? Start with ATI’s Making Change Happen Planner.
What’s In It For Me?
Team members will want to know “What’s in it for Me?” or WIFM. A change management leader must create energy, enthusiasm, and engagement around the change process. Building momentum and engagement with the team is important for the change process to be successful. Creating WIFM will require the leader to:
- Share the nature of the change and what is in it for the business, the customer, and the associates.
- Share the business goals and align the associate’s personal goals to the business change goals.
- Know what motivates each team member as an individual and tie aspects of the change process to the associates’ motivations.
Communication will be the best savior a leader will have during the change process. More, not less, is a best practice to be followed.
Make It Happen
Here are a few tools that help facilitate the change process and provide the best chance for the change process to succeed.
- Communication: Keep the lines of communication open before, during, and after the change – adaptations to any plan need to happen quickly and smoothly. Constant communication will assist with unforeseen events that may occur during the change process.
- Education: Educate all parties about the reasons for the change and what the expected outcomes will be. WIFM will be a leader’s friend. People want to know the reason change is happening – you are disrupting a predictable pattern that has become a “comfort zone,” an area of familiarity for them – FEAR can and will set in easily if associates are not prepared. Educating will also aid in stopping the rumor mill from running wild.
- Training: Ensure all parties are trained and up to date with all things required for the change to happen successfully.
- Flexibility: Be flexible and ready to modify or update the change process plan. Not everyone is easily adaptive – be sure to keep pace with each associate’s needs to enact the changes being made. Feedback and coaching will be necessary along the journey.
- Involvement: It is important to have the individuals affected by the change participate during all phases of the change process. They can shed light on the change from their perspective and their respective roles in the business.
These tools will help battle any negative reactions when they occur, and with more preparation, the change process can run smoother.
Creating and maintaining a business that can move forward into the future will help you deal with an ever-accelerating rate of change in the workplace, the market, and the world. The challenge is to become adaptable and respond to the changes so you will thrive in the future.
Non-ATI Members: Get ATI’s Making Change Happen Planner. It will help you manage the change process with your team, identify change resistance, and create plans to overcome obstacles.