Great leaders are able to ignite change in their organizations and effectively combat the resistance that often keeps changes from being implemented. Though resistance is a natural and inevitable part of the change process, it still gets in the way. What follows are some ways to help people embrace change more fully.
People don’t resist change, they resist loss. Here are some losses that will prompt change resistance:
Loss of Control: Change is often “imposed” from the top. People feel that they have little choice (i.e., control) but to accept the change. Getting people’s input early on when the change is being contemplated will mitigate the loss of control.
Loss of Competency: People know how to navigate “Point A.” It is known and familiar. “Point B” will require new skills, which means that – for a little while – people will feel incompetent. Training must support change.
Loss of Relationships: Organizational changes often impact reporting structures. “Re-orgs” almost always impact or disrupt the network of existing relationships.
Loss of Security: When the path to success changes, people become insecure about their future. People need to see how embracing the changes will provide them with stability.
Below are 6 powerful strategies for leading your team to implement positive changes:
- Create Urgency: People need a reason to change. The more compelling and urgent the reason, the faster they’ll change. Set aggressive deadlines and hold people accountable to meeting them.
- Create Community: The more people involved in the change effort, the easier it will be to make it happen. Socialize your change idea and bring people in to the “shaping” process. This will help them put skin in the game.
- Develop and Share the Vision: Because change equates with loss, you’ll need to be explicitly clear about what the future holds, and why it is a better place than where they reside today.
- Let People Clear the Path: To clear out the old way of doing things, people will need permission to take risks and be innovative. Support them by empowering them to “own” the problems and define the solutions.
- Get Quick Wins: Build momentum and enthusiasm by going for some early wins. Identify “low hanging fruit” opportunities, and celebrate small milestones. Quick wins will help people build confidence for the bigger challenges.
- Connect the Change to the Culture: There will be greater change resistance to changes that are perceived as incompatible with the culture. Be explicitly clear about how the changes reinforce and/or build upon the company’s core values.
As Charles Darwin said, “It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change.” By helping your organization to change for the better, you will be laying the groundwork for future changes and greater success.