Change is a little scary (even if you’re too tough to admit it). It can be hard. It can be unsettling. BUT – it can also be exciting and just what is needed to create a better future.
Whatever your stance on change is, you can agree that it’s inevitable. What are you supposed to do when you know something needs to change, yet nothing is being done? It might be time for you to take the reins and spark a necessary change. Making changes in your personal life can be difficult, but leading changes at work can be even more challenging. There are more people involved and more constraints that are out of our control.
If you want to effect change at work, you will need leadership. This doesn’t mean leadership in the sense of your status or job title, but leadership in the sense of action. Even if you aren’t in the C-Suite and you don’t have a fancy job title, you can lead others through influence.
Take a minute now to think of something you would like to change at work. Now, articulate your intention behind the change and list out any benefits, risks, and costs involved to determine if this would be a feasible change. Thinking through the change from all angles will help you get a clear picture of how it would look, as well as make it easier to get approval and buy-in from others.
You have now thought through what the change would look like and got initial approval from the leadership team. How do you now get everybody else on board?
Long story short, it comes down to communication. Communication will be the biggest factor in whether this change is successful or flops. Thinking through a strategic communications plan will be vital to successful change and transformation. It will clarify where the organization is going and what that means for all employees, as well as allow them to get excited about the future.
Keep these things in mind when working on your communications plan:
Be clear on the changes
Without clarity, change will not be successful. Employees will want to know where the organization is going, why the change is happening, the risks involved, and how they will benefit from the change. Think about how you would answer those three points and be consistent when addressing the points.
Meet people where they are
People respond to change in different ways. Some people love change, while some people despise it and will do all they can to avoid it. Know this is the case and that you will need to communicate the changes and plans using various methods, at various times, and with varying messaging. By doing so, the odds that your message resonates with each employee is much higher than if your communications consist of one standardized message. Chat with team leads and your marketing team to create consistent communication throughout the organization.
Tell the story again and again
Depending on the magnitude of the change, you may need to develop a plan for ongoing communication and engagement. Those directly involved with the change will be familiar with all that is to come, but there will need to be intentional communication for the rest of the organization. Develop a plan to sustain employee engagement, helping this change be successful.
Not everybody will buy in and that’s okay
If you communicate with employees well, you will create excitement and motivation for many. There will always be some who are hesitant or resistant no matter what you try. You may need to have conversations with those who fall in that category, figuring out what they need from you to buy in. If there is nothing that can be done, then it might be healthiest for both parties if that person leaves the organization.
One thing that is easily forgotten is celebration! Take time to recognize small wins, sharing progress and updates throughout the process of change. This will allow all employees to come together and move the needle to successfully implement the change.
Change may never be easy but following the tips above will hopefully make it feel a little less overwhelming.
Go out and make positive change happen! You can lead and inspire from whatever seat you’re in as long as you have a plan in place and are wanting to implement the change for a solid reason. If you’re ready to make things happen within your team or organization, let’s chat!