Almost every organisation I’ve been in over the last 15 years, I’ve heard the term everyone is ‘change fatigued’. We all know that change is challenging, change is even more challenging when we believe we’re already successful. That is when you believe that a past approach has worked for you, why would you change?
Often, we build a view of the world based upon how we expect it to be, and how we expect it to be is quite often how it has always been. When reality changes that, we get disappointed.
In the book ‘Inside Change – Transform Your Organisation with Emotional Intelligence’ by authors Massimiliano Ghini & Joshua Freedman outline why change is challenging:
- The first challenge is to remember that organisations are just collections of individuals, and as individuals, we struggle with change. Change provokes a whole range of emotions, and it takes an emotional drive to move us forward. The two most powerful motivations in life that push and pull people to change are fear and love, and there is a place for both.
- The second challenge is expectation. Change is especially challenging when we’re already successful. When your past approach has worked for you, why would you change? It’s easy to get lulled into a false sense of security. We, as humans, are expectations machines. We build a view of the world based upon how we expect it to be, and how we expect it to be is quite often how it has always been. When reality changes that, we get disappointed.
- The third challenge is structure. We build “status quo” into our organisational structures. The org chart reinforces a certain set of expectations created around how things have always been done. So, in addition to the human changes in attitudes and habits, transformation requires rethinking basic structures like the org chart, reporting responsibilities and accountability, and compensation.
Change provokes a whole range of emotions, and it takes an emotional drive to move us forward.
“Organizations don’t change…people change!”
Taking this into consideration, how do we drive change forward as a leader. Here are some steps to move help you along the way.
Communicating the change effectively
Provide clear and structured information to others and then verify that they’ve understood the change. When communicating change, remember not everyone learns the same way or at the same pace. Be sure to modify your communication style and vary your communication channels to meet the needs of the audience.
Support the team
When building a team, be sure to continually develop the team and its members. The performance of team members should be regularly reviewed, and coaching and training needs to be addressed. Its not fair to hold people accountable if they don’t have the skills to do the job.
As a leader, it’s important to have a clear vision, express it clearly, support it well and bring it to life so that it can be embraced by your team. In any change, stressful situations will inevitably occur. Be proactive as a leader, not reactive.
Engagement & motivation
Keep your team motivated and engage them as much as possible to drive uptake of the change, create a good working atmosphere thereby increasing the overall productivity of the team. When necessary, tackle issues head on. Be open and transparent.
Personal integrity and reliability
Reliability means saying what you will do and doing what you say. To build trust in others, it’s important to be reliable and demonstrate that you will live up to what you have promised to do. It implies minimising errors as well as openness and consistency. It builds confidence in your team and confidence that others will have of you.
There are many barriers and set-backs that will naturally occur during the change process and many that may be avoided or dealt with more easily by taking into consideration the above tips.
And remember sometimes change is as good as a holiday! Embrace it.