“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change.” Charles Darwin
And this holds true for change in the workplace too.
If you can manage your team effectively through change, helping them to adapt and adjust, it’s much more likely to be successful. Investing your time will pay dividends following this Four E’s structure:
Communicating a constructive mindset is the first step to embracing change – whether or not team members ‘like’ or ‘agree’ with it:
- Make time for the team to discuss the change together openly. Put it in context, explain why it’s happening, why it’s necessary and what it entails.
- Be open and realistic about the pros and cons. This will encourage constructive ideas about any issues and help the team to buy into the change. Listen to concerns and show you understand, especially normal feelings of being unsettled and unsure.
- Invite questions and either respond immediately or find out answers and follow up with them later.
- Provide key facts to answer questions and concerns
- Evaluate the change with the team, involve them in assessing its impact and gaining clarity in their minds so they can overcome their doubts and fears.
- Ask the team for their reactions and acknowledge any reservations. Ask - “What would help you make the adjustment?”
- Identify any challenging areas that might need further support. If difficulties are raised which can’t be resolved immediately, make a note and follow up.
- Help the team to adapt and evolve their behaviours to begin to ‘have a go.’
- Identify skills and learning solutions that will help the team adapt to the change
- Be visible and present to deal with questions and identify issues.
- Advocate a ‘one step at a time approach’ to build confidence and make sure the team learns from mistakes.
- Be fair and supportive - and encourage the team to be patient and supportive with each other.
- Give people the freedom to ‘get on with it’ and practice, so that they stay focused and start to commit to the change.
- Invite the team to use their initiative, adopt a “keep on learning” mindset and continually improve their performance.
- Give regular feedback to reinforce learning and boost confidence. Show appreciation and highlight the progress the team has made and give credit on their achievement.
- Review progress at team meetings and encourage individuals to share their knowledge with other members of the team.
- At every opportunity remind the team of the purpose of the change and the priorities.
And finally! Be transparent with the team. There is no crystal ball to determine in advance whether or not the change will work. No one can predict every eventuality - which means that some changes will be changed again!