It’s easy to underestimate the level of disruption that occurs when we launch a new strategy, are asked to lead a new team, or when we ask our current teams to do things differently.
Even when a change is positive, initially most people can only think, what will happen to me? Will I still have a job? What if I can’t take care of my family?
In addition to all the disruption, fear, and uncertainty, leaders often make three classic mistakes by:
- Underestimating the power of the existing culture. Even with the best of good intentions, employees are used to doing their work in a certain way. And, until they understand and have time to process the need for change, they will just keep doing what they’ve always done.
- Moving too fast to implement changes while communicating too little or too late. The result? Some employees shut down and let fear take over, others stand around and kvetch at the copy machine, and the rest keep charging ahead doing what they have always done—or worse, trying out new things that may not be beneficial. A lack of clarity around new roles and responsibilities is one of the biggest reasons change initiatives fail.
- Forgetting the importance of connecting on all three levels of communication:
─ Intellectual: Employees understand the rationale behind the need for change.
─ Emotional: Employees buy in and want to support the need for change.
─ Practical: Employees know how to make a personal contribution.
No doubt about it, organizational change is complex. Here are five easy-to-access, and digest, resources to help spark some ideas about managing change in your organization:
- Author Dan Heath describes an interesting psychology study in this four-minute video: Why Change is So Hard .
- Gavin Wedell, a business educator in London, offers leaders 4 tips to manage change in his three-minute video, What Is Change Management.
- Management Consultancy International describes the four typical responses to change in Change Management in 30 Seconds.
- Chip Heath and Dan Heath discuss their philosophy: “When it’s time to change, we must look for bright spots . . .What’s working and how can we do more of it?” in a Fast Company excerpt about their book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard.
- Learn about a leader who dared to try innovative techniques to transform his team. Download your free eBook (see side bar): Launching Organizational Change: 5 Tips to transform employee disinterest, doubt, and fear into buy-in, engagement, and action.