Change is in the nature of all business. As firms compete to stay relevant in an evolving marketplace– the ability to respond to change can determine success or failure.
People, on the other hand, are resistance to change. Change makes us all uncomfortable to some degree– and for good reason. Change makes us feel out of control and defensive about past failures, it creates uncertainty and surprise, and can often leave us with more work to do!
This leaves firms in a dangerous position– the wishes of the ‘team’ is at odds with the goals of the firm. Organizations should look at how their culture addresses change, so that it can support– rather than hinder– innovation in the workplace.
- Check in Early and Often. Be transparent about changes and how they will affect the team. Encourage the team to ask questions so they will understand WHY this needs to happen. Remember that adopting change is an ongoing process, so check back frequently to see how everyone is coping.
- Encourage Early Adopters. Every team has one or two members that are more comfortable with change or are able to see how the change will improve the business. Recruit your early adopters to talk to other team members, show them tricks to the new process and encourage adoption.
- Establish a Feedback Loop. Give your team a voice in the process. Make sure that their challenges with the new system are heard and addressed. Set up a weekly meeting to review things that went well– and those that did not– so issues get resolved quickly and stakeholders don’t get frustrated.
- Where is the reward? Stakeholders will resist any change (or learning something new) if they don’t understand what’s in it for them. Leaders need to clearly identify the reward for adopting change. Costly rewards aren’t necessary, the important piece is understanding what would motivate individual stakeholders– and helping them to understand how adopting the change will help them get it.
Managing change is always a challenge for organizations, but having a process in place to support your team will mitigate many of the risks involved. If change can become a comfortable state within your culture, your organization can adopt more innovative ideas and proactively address new challenges in the marketplace.