As our Company grows, and as your personal and organizational business grows, we all must recognize that change is inevitable. We must all work toward setting up a process to help everyone understand and embrace change.
In the past year, I argue that we have not changed the fundamentals, but instead have returned to them. This is a change, nonetheless. We believe in Tools & Events. We have updated our tools – we now use the LegalShield app to show people our service. We use Prospect by LegalShield to expose people to our service and opportunity. We have new magazines. This all feels like change, but it is really “back to the future.” We believe in events, and we are launching the new Millennial Tour nationwide to help everyone build their team with a powerful generation. This may feel like change, but it’s our fundamental business.
Now before we discuss how to lead and manage change, let’s have some straight talk about why people resist change. First, too often, we experience what we perceive to be random attempts at change with no thought-out plan. Impulsive and unsuccessful change attempts lead to an organizational culture of skepticism and negativity. Second, change can make people feel like they are losing control. Third, we may feel that change is a criticism of the past and those associated with what is changing can get defensive or feel a loss of respect. Fourth, we resist change if it makes us feel stupid. Last, and get ready for some hard truth, change means more work-- the transition from old to new requires us to learn, stretch, and get out of our comfort zone.
So what do we need to do to successfully lead and manage change? How do we overcome the natural resistance to change? Well, we’ve already taken the first step – acknowledging that most people dislike change!
Let’s outline some key habits, tools and processes that help get people engaged in change, including creation, communication, recognition and celebration.
Get people involved in creative Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS). One way to lead change is to consider a solution to a problem the entire team acknowledges. Bring everyone together and discuss “pain points,” “challenges,” and “if we only had X, everything would be better.” This is a way to avoid surprises, and to place control in the hands of the team. When I talk about team—I mean your open line, but also everyone in your organization and many times the Home Office; basically, the people you need to work with to successfully achieve your goal.
Attitude is critical to performance, and asking for everyone’s input, feedback, questions, and ideas to make the intended outcome more successful. This experience not only increases self-esteem and confidence; it also helps give people a sense of ownership for the change initiative. Engaging people throughout the change process also facilitates organizational “buy-in.” Without such commitment it will be impossible to move change forward.
Building trust is imperative to successful change management. It is only when people trust that they will be willing to follow the unknown path of change. One way of building trust is through constant, clear, and honest communication. The first step in the communication process is to develop a clear vision around why the change needs to take place and what it will look like. Unless change is clear, it will be impossible to communicate a compelling vision to others. Once vision is clear, communicate. There are many ways we can communicate vision -- delivering speeches, sending emails, posting the vision statement on the wall, participating in discussions – but most importantly – by consistently “living out” the message.
Celebrating the successes from change is critical. If people perceive that they are never being recognized, then they will not engage in change. One way to combat this is by celebrating short-term wins and recognizing, perhaps even rewarding, individuals for their involvement in the change process. Perhaps you should have team recognition for using Prospect? Perhaps you should have a celebration for who brings the most guests to the Millennial Tour.
• Include everyone upfront, during and after.
• Frame change in the context of “fixing a problem” or “making things better.”
• Discuss feelings – define what excites and worries the team.
• Identify what resistance must be overcome to succeed
• Communicate plans and progress regularly.
• Measure and celebrate progress and wins.