If the only thing constant in life is change, why does it always so difficult to manage?
Part of the reason is because the change itself depends on so many different factors. Political, economic, sociological, technological, organizational influences; external, internal impact; the affect on employees, consumers, customers, suppliers….you name it, there are a multitude of considerations to address when a business goes through a major change.
On an individualized level, there is a complex process of transition as well. Our minds go through a process that leads us through ending one part of our life and beginning anew. If the change is perceived as positive, then the transition is often welcomed. However, if the change is viewed as having a negative impact on themselves or others, there can be feelings of anxiety, fear, helplessness, anger, guilt, denial and disillusionment. It takes longer to build acceptance and get to the point where the employee can constructively move forward. Any successful change management effort needs to minimize the drama, while respecting people’s feelings as they go through a myriad of emotions. It requires an understanding of not only the organizational needs, but of individualized employee needs to help them adapt more quickly and build towards a new future.
In addition to having a solid change plan in place, it is critical to ‘over-communicate’ during high transition periods. When people do not know what is happening, rumors form, tensions increase, and morale plunges. If certain parts of the plan cannot be shared yet, then at least say, ‘we are working on it, and we promise to let you know as soon as we can.’ This may not eliminate all the fear, but it tells folks you are being authentic in your concern for them.
Net, as a leader of change, it is vital that you provide a compelling picture of the future, and also show people that you understand their concerns, will work on their behalf to resolve issues, and have the company’s as well as their individual interests in mind.
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