What’s the one word that puts fear in the hearts of most employees? Change.  And why? Because rarely is it planned for, managed, or communicated.  Change is a disruptor and should be effective.  People, by nature, are creatures of habit, so disrupting the routine causes mental and sometimes emotional angst.

Does this scenario sound familiar?  And if so, how did it make you feel?

  • C-Suite identifies a market condition or internal inefficiency that requires adaptation.
  • C-Suite develops a strategy on how the organization is going to adapt.
  • C-Suite discusses this at length and determines best course of action.
  • CEO has an all-hands meeting to tell employees what is changing and when
  • Employees find ways to do things in a way that is familiar and comfortable, circumventing Change completely
  • Morale declines, absenteeism increases, and productivity declines
  • Next reporting cycle, C-Suite is disappointed with progress
  • The identified adaptation is seen as a failure

When confronted with change, there is a six-stage Change Cycle people go through.

As a leader, it is your job to be able to identify where they are in this process, provide support and encouragement and assist them through complete integration. When you listen to your team, their words and phrases will tell you where they are in the process. For example, when you hear, “We tried that before and it didn’t work.” That individual is in Stage 2, or Doubt. Engaging them in HOW it might work, listening and addressing their concerns and providing regular communications is critical. Successful change is not a one- and-done conversation.

At Watermark Associates, we understand Change is not easy; however, it is usually necessary. Here are a few suggestions to make Change not only successful, but also increase your organization’s strength, improve morale, and ultimately succeed:

  1.  Identify and communicate what the vision is once the Change has occurred, in other words, what does it look like after it is implemented?
  2. Communicate the benefits of the Change.
  3. Identify champions at all levels of the organization that are part of the Change Management Team.
  4. Provide information, resources, and materials for your champions to help support integration, information sharing and productive communication.
  5. Share HOW the change will happen and when. To the best of your ability, provide a realistic timeline and critical milestones. Celebrate those milestones as they are achieved.

Ask for feedback as the process evolves and make modifications as necessary. By listening to how the plan is going, learning from the process, and making adjustments based on suggestions at ALL levels of the organization, Change can and will be successful.

COVID-19 has changed how most organizations do business. If you have successfully pivoted and are adapting to a new business normal, take the time to get feedback both internally and from your stakeholders. Make adaptions as necessary. When you are ready to make changes, call us at (951)294-3190, or email dburke@watermarkassociates.com or judy@watermarkassocites.com.

We can help.

Watermark Staff

Author Watermark Staff

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