Handle Change By Focusing on Them

Time For Change

Time For Change

When there are changes that need to be made in your business, and you ask your people if they are afraid about the upcoming changes, would they answer “yes” or “no?”

Do you think they would tell you the truth, or would they tell you what they think you want to hear? My experience has been people will tell you what you want to hear chong qi zhang peng.

If you ask what effect the changes are likely to have on them, or even better, “How will these changes make things better for you,” do you think they would be able to articulate that? All too often, they will not have a clue.

Employees will never tell you the following:

  • I don’t understand.
  • I am afraid
  • I can’t find the “What’s in it for Me”(WIIFM) factor.

First let’s deal with that fear of change. The best thing you can do about the fear factor is to communicate clearly and often about what it is you are trying to do and the nature of the changes coming down the pipe

  1. Form a cross-functional focus group to help you navigate through the fear factor in your organization.
  2. Assemble a team of five to seven people (the focus group), led by yourself or a top executive, representing all levels and all functions of the organization, including hourly employees. If you have a union, include the top union officials. You should pick informal leaders if possible, especially from the hourly employee groups. These individuals are good at communicating and spreading the word, and they will work for you instead of against you, to eliminate the fear factor.
  3. Bring this group together and share what is happening and why it is happening, and then ask for help in anticipating sources of fear.
  4. Then ask for help with mitigating those issues. I think that you will be amazed at the good will and the reduction in fodder for the rumor mill, just from forming such a group and asking for their help. It does not take a lot of time to get tremendous benefit from this approach.

You may find that the fears have some legitimacy. In some cases, changes may result in reductions of staff or reassignment of the workforce. If so, develop a plan for how to do that in a humane way, and then share that information openly. It is very difficult to share bad news, but you are better off to get it out in the open and deal with it right up front, because fear of the unknown is more upsetting and disruptive than the ugly truth. Explain the reasons for the changes, and what you are going to do to provide a soft landing for your folks. Explain the criteria for the decisions about whom it is going to affect.

If you like the idea of the focus group, ask them to help you determine the best way to share the ugly truth with your organization. People naturally and vigorously resist changes in which they do not see benefits for themselves. Take the time to ask yourself these basic questions regarding each constituency within the organization:

  • Why should they go along with the change?
  • What are the benefits to them?
  • Is there a compelling reason to make the change from their point of view?

Communicate the change as a win/win and that everyone will benefit by adapting the changes. You can elicit help from your focus group to convince the few that might resist no matter what you do.

Call a senior consultant with Ember Carriers at (513) 984-9333 for a free strategy session consultation to learn how create an effective change leadership program.

Web: www.embercarriers.com|Facebook: www.facebook.com/EmberCarriers

Twitter: www.twitter.com/embercarriers|LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/mhladio

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