Change has become the norm in today’s rapid-fire business landscape.
We’re constantly having to navigate shifting markets, emerging technologies and ever-changing customer expectations to survive and thrive.
Because of this, it’s critical business leaders know how to, and feel comfortable and confident, leading their teams through change.
Working through change certainly isn’t easy, but we’re here to help!
Here are six simple change management strategies for leaders and their teams that are crucial to success.
1. Put the ‘why’ on the walls
It’s important for leaders to make people aware of what is going on and why, and arguably, more importantly, the consequences of not changing.
Leading a team to see the need for change is based on understanding the ‘why’ behind the change. When a team doesn’t understand the why, it’s common that they lack the desire to change.
Because of this, leaders must articulate the why throughout the change management process.
2. Suss out the desire for change
What’s the current level of desire for change in your team?
It’s important to be aware that individuals will all sit at different stages and have varying emotions through the change curve.
You don’t have the ability to read minds (how rude, we know!). So instead, you need to encourage open discussions throughout the change process.
Incite open dialogue and create a safe space for your team members to voice their concerns, questions, and ideas. Also, actively listen to their feedback and address concerns.
The power of a question like ‘How are you feeling about the change?’ at a water cooler or over a coffee can give you valuable insights into your team.
Together these actions will help you scope out the desire (or lack of) for change. Transparency will also help build trust and make people feel more comfortable with the change process.
3. Spark excitement through vision
Teams resist organisational change for many reasons:
- Fear of the unknown
- Loss of comfort or familiarity
- Perceived threat to status
- Lack of understanding/involvement
- Previous negative experiences
- Traditional organisational culture
- Loss of skills or expertise
- Lack of trust in leadership
These concerns can make change difficult, but it’s always possible.
A vital step to success is sharing a clear and inspiring vision of the future. How will your organisation look and feel after implementing the proposed changes?
A compelling vision can not only help people understand the ‘why’, but it also helps them see the positive outcomes of change. This can spark excitement, reduce concerns, and create a desire for change.
4. Set your team up for success
Change often demands the acquisition of new knowledge or skills.
This could be due to implementing new systems, technologies or business processes or a shift in evolving job requirements.
Because of this, another effective change management strategy is providing your team with the information and abilities they need is crucial to achieving successful change.
This could include skills assessment, training and/or development opportunities, mentoring and coaching, and open conversations about how change may affect the direct team member or overall organisation.
5. Lead by example
As a leader, your actions speak louder than words.
Because of this, you must embrace change and demonstrate your commitment to it.
Be a role model by showcasing the behaviours, mindset, and actions you expect from others. When your team sees your dedication and enthusiasm for change, it can motivate them to follow suit.
Bonus tip: Managing change can be challenging, and there’s often a natural inclination to return to familiar routines and processes. So be mindful about reverting to the old ways of doing things.
6. Continually reinforce change
Continually reinforcing change and being clear about your change expectations as a leader is crucial. One part of this is using reward and recognition tactics.
Start by clearly defining the behaviours and actions that align with the desired change culture. Then think about how to positively acknowledge and motivate team members.
However, while R&R are important, your primary focus should be on reinforcing change by providing support and addressing issues that arise while ensuring your team members feel valued and heard.
This focus will ensure your change initiative runs much more smoothly.
Build a change culture
These change management strategies are great ways to help you achieve a smooth transition. But the bigger picture key to success is building a change culture.
A change culture refers to the collective mindset, attitudes, values, and behaviours within your organisation that embrace and support change.
When change is seen as a normal and necessary part of your evolution and growth, you can become more agile, innovative, and engaged and gain that competitive edge.