Inspiring Organizational Growth
Are you finding that employees are balking against more change in the workplace? Are you struggling to try and convince them that change is a necessary part of Organizational Growth ?
Many of the leaders I am working with are finding this a frustrating reality. Employees are putting up blockers to any newly suggested changes to schedules, product delivery, technological advances, and competitive strategies. Despite the fact that all of these changes are ones the owners and leaders emphasis NEED to happen. So what can you do to help your employees adjust and bring these changes to life? It starts with understanding why resistance happens and learning how to properly address it.
Let's start with a simple example to see if it sounds vaguely familiar. Dave has decided to move his company's location. He's reviewed months of data, determined where his customer base is located, sought out new locations, and has secured a larger, more central building on the other side of town. The move will happen in two months and he is thrilled about the new possibilities this expansion will offer to his company. He excitedly announces the move to his employees during a morning huddle. The reaction is less than ecstatic. He's a little shocked. He tries a "sales technique". He tells them all the advantages, that the move will boost sales and competitive visibility for the company. He asks for input, but doesn't get much. Later that day a supervisor comes to tell him that there is a lot of grumbling, concern, frustration, and people are threatening to quit. WHAT IS GOING ON? Dave thought they would be happy...he was hoping to expand the business and change some processes along the way. Now this decision may in fact have the opposite affect. He knows he needs his employees to personally believe in the need for change, but he is at a loss on how to make it happen. He sits back and wonders... "Why don't they just trust me? I have never led them astray before. I believe in this. Why don't they?"
Lesson #1- Change is about people not processes
Too often organizations focus on the "things" that need to change (processes, systems, locations, products, technology) without investing enough time in "who" needs to make the changes come to life.
For example- In Dave's case, he has spent a lot of time thinking about what need to change, where to relocate, and how it will benefit his company. What he didn't really consider was the employees that this change will impact. For many of these employees their fundamental concerns are based on:
1- Why do we need to make this change?
2-People need time to process new information
3-What's in it for me?
Lesson #2- People want to know they will be successful
Dave has probably spent months thinking about, researching, and bringing this idea to life. This is a common reality in business. Executive teams spend months creating strategic plans, studying changes in the industry, and devising new ways to remain competitive. They don't share this information with their employees out of necessity. Budgeting, legalities, and of course the concern their competitors will also become aware of their new ideas too soon prevents the sharing of this information.
Unfortunately, once again the people that need to actually make the change come to life are often the last to be told. They have not been part of the strategic meetings, or brainstorming. They may lack the confidence, competence, knowledge and ability to immediately jump in and bring it to life. They are concerned about how the change will impact their job, what they will be asked to do, learn, and implement.
1-How will this change my job, roles, and responsibilities?
Employees have invested a lot in your company. It pays the bills, it offers stability and/or promotion, they have learned how to do their job effectively, and they understand their role. Now you want to CHANGE things and they are not convinced this is a good idea.
Dave needs to have his plan well laid out. Employees need to know what "expansion" looks like for them and how it will happen. This can be done by anticipating concerns people may raise and being ready with the answers.
By anticipating and addressing these concerns early, Dave will have a greater success in addressing resistance at its core. If Dave does this correctly, he can quickly turn resistance into excitement.
He will also gain important insight from the people engaged in the change. By opening up lines of communication, he will increase trust, support learning, and gain needed feedback. In slowing down the process, and learning more about the people he is leading, he will ensure the change is supported and his Organizational Transformation is a success.
Carrie-Lynn Hotson is a College Professor, HR Specialist, Speaker, and Coach. She is the author of Knowing Who You Lead, and the owner/CEO of Inspiring Organizational Growth- an HR consulting business designed to help leaders and teams understand WHY issues occur. To learn more, visit her website www.inspiringorganizationalgrowth.com/
Carrie-Lynn Hotson is the author of Knowing Who You Lead, has created a series of blog posts to generate discussion, insight and inspire transformational leadership growth.