We all know that change is a constant and that most people resist it, but, as a leader, it is critical to engage and even inspire your team to make the most of change. As a leader of change, it is important to exude consistent positive energy and make a conscious effort to model the behavior needed to forge ahead.
Assessing where your team is around the change, whether it is a new sales approach, different methods of doing your work, being acquired by a different company, acquiring a new branch, or whatever the environmental impact, your first job is to first conduct a self-assessment and determine just how you feel about the impact occurring and what the plan is to execute it. You need to be in alignment with the change before you can expect anyone else to have buy-in. Here are some steps for success:
1) What exactly is going to happen? Be able to communicate clearly and quickly what changes are expected for the team and the organization. Accentuate the possibilities and discuss the “whys” if possible. Everyone likes to know what is going on and that helps to mitigate rumors and negative energy.
2) Enable folks to provide input and feedback. Expect resistance and validate any concerns, once again, articulating the “whys” and tying them into the overall business mission.
3) Develop a plan for rolling out the changes and include your team in the process even if it is just providing information.
4) Determine what role each team member will play and tie that into the big picture.
5) Meet periodically to “check in” with your team and continue to answer questions, respond to resistance, and encourage their participation.
6) Model the behavior; be part of the effort to roll out the new and integrate it into existing work plans.
7) Celebrate any milestones that are evident and reward those who are fully engaged in the success.
Change can be upsetting and scary for some and exhilarating for others. A good leader recognizes the signs and is able to facilitate change in ways that can be beneficial for the team, customers, and the business.