How well are you getting everyone onboard the change train as it’s pulling out of the station?
Change creates uncertainty for employees about their job, their responsibilities, their livelihood. No matter the kind of change or the extent, it is crucial that leaders communicate with employees early, often and well.
Part I provided these first three steps: 1) Analyze your own feelings about the change; 2) Obtain the many facts surrounding the change; and 3) Decide when and how to communicate the news. Here are the last three steps for communicating change so that there will be less resistance and more commitment.
4. Explain the details clearly and confidently.
In many organizations, staff are notified of decisions but are not told the why, who, what, when, where and how. If they don’t understand the reasons, if they see no plan, and if they think it won’t work, then what happens is a lack of enthusiasm and commitment for the change. Here’s what you need to communicate.
- The “Why” – The reasons for the change.
- The “What” – Specifically what is changing and what is not
- The “How” – The plan of action for the change.
5. Emphasize the benefits but don’t over do it.
Highlight key benefits that are important to the particular staff member or team. A younger employee may relate positively to the extensive training that will accompany a change while one nearing retirement may not see that as a benefit at all. So figure out the “WIIFM” (What’s In It For Me) for each of your staff people or teams.
6. Finally anticipate and address their concerns.
When a manager announces a change, a staff person’s first concern is “How is it going to affect me?” Recognize that while the change is beneficial and needed, there may be legitimate problems and downsides to the change. Too often managers do not want to discuss the downsides or challenges. Resistance increases when this happens because to employees it feels like management does not care or is out of touch with reality. So determine ahead of time:
- What questions might be asked and concerns voiced about the change?
- How might you answer these questions and concerns honestly yet with optimism?
Management Success Tip:
Get a fast start. Work with your people to determine the best ways to make change work. Involve your staff in the planning, the rolling out and problem solving of the change project or program. There is no better time to get people’s commitment than right in the beginning.
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- Copyright © 2012 Marcia Zidle business and leadership coach.