Like it or not, well-planned or unplanned, your business is going to go through some rapid change. As a leader in your organization, you have the obligation and opportunity to be forthright and tell people what to expect. Knowing what the change is, helps people prepare for it. Those who create elaborate tales or engage in deceitful spin will ultimately experience triple strikes. One, they hurt the people involved; Two, they discredit themselves and Three, they sabotage the change itself. Embrace what’s positive and present the facts. If you deliver anything less than that, you risk being swept under by intense waves of concern and confusion.
Encourage a sense of camaraderie. When someone knows they are not the only one to feel uneasy, there is quicker bonding with their cohorts. This leads to greater joint involvement and teamwork in trying to cope with the shift to their routine. They share a variety of experiences that bond them together.
Once together, people may commiserate, struggle, or become melancholy. It’s okay; let them have a little time and space to mentally give up whatever it is they need to do to make room for the change.
People tend to self-limit and focus on what can’t be done. Don’t let them fall into that snare. They may be tangled in a jumble of competing priorities, so, as a leader, cut through the net of negative beliefs. Eventually, they will sort through them and discover what’s truly important.
Once the priorities are clarified, people will begin to doubt they have enough resources available to participate in the change. Your job is to help them find those resources, be they internal or external. Recognize that people change at different speeds, but they do change. Keep at it. Keep the focus on the goal.
Make sure an old habit has been replaced with a new one and monitor the results. If you let up too soon, people will lapse into their old ways.
In times of uncertainty, take care of your own house, meaning, do what you can to best protect yourself and those you lead. Doing so exceptionally well will, in no small part, change the world in ways you may never fully appreciate.
Consult the “Leader’s Guide to Change” as a resource to help plan your next steps.