4 your succes: Accelerate Change
Every organization must be prepared to abandon everything it does to survive in
My role as a leader is always to keep my people cheered up, optimistic, and
ready to play full-out in the face of change. That’s my job. Most managers do
not do this. They see their role as babysitters, problem-solvers, and firefighters.
And so they produce babies, problems, and fires all around them.
It’s important to know the psychological reaction to change in your
employees and how it follows a predictable cycle.
Your employees pass through these four stages in the cycle, and you can learn
how to manage this process:
The Change Cycle
1. Objection: “This can’t be good.”
2. Reduced consciousness: “I really don’t want to deal with this.”
3. Exploration: “How can I make this change work for me?”
4. Buy-in: “I have figured out how I can make this work for me and for
Sometimes the first three stages in the cycle take a long time for your people
to pass through. Productivity and morale can take a dizzying dip as employees
resist change. It is human nature to resist change. We all do it.
If I am a very good leader, I want to thoroughly understand the change cycle
so that I can get my people to “buy-in” as soon as humanly possible. I want their
total and deep buy-in to make this change work for them, for me, and for the
So how do I help move them through stages one, two, and three? First of all, I
prepare myself to communicate about this change in the most enthusiastic and
positive way possible. And I mean prepare. As many great coaches have said, “It
isn’t the will to win that wins the game, it’s the will to prepare to win.” I want to
arm myself. I want to educate and inform myself about the change so I can be an
enthused spokesperson in favor of the change.
Most managers don’t do this. They realize that their people are resisting the
change, so they identify with the loyal resistance. They sympathize with the
outcry. They give voice to what a hassle the change is. They even apologize for
it. They say it shouldn’t have happened.
“This never should have happened. I’m sorry. With all you people go through.
What a shame there’s this now, too.”
Every internal change is made to improve the viability or effectiveness of the
company. Those arguments are the ones I want to sell. I want my people to see
what’s in this for them. I want them to really see for themselves that a more
viable company is a more secure place to work.
What about change from the outside? Regulators, market shifts, vendor
problems? In those cases, I want to stress to my team that the competition faces
the same changes. When it rains on the field, it rains on both teams. Then I want
to stress the superiority of our team’s rain strategy, so that this rain becomes our
I also want to keep change alive on my team as a positive habit. Yes, we
change all the time. We change before we have to.
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