Change is a necessary catalyst for growth. Without change, you risk stagnating and falling behind as an organization. Change is also scary. It requires team members to step out of something comfortable and familiar into the unknown.
Whether change comes in the form of a key player’s departure or a new system of procedures and processes, it can be disruptive to your team. However, change doesn’t have to destroy the momentum and trust that you have with your team.
Here’s how to handle organizational change well.
The worst kind of change is the one that you didn’t know was coming. Which makes communication the most important part of preparing your team for a change. Communicating upcoming changes gives you the opportunity to create buy-in and transparency.
When it comes to change, leaders usually don’t intend to under share, but it is easy to get caught up in the busyness of work and simply forget to keep people in the loop. To prevent this, you need frequent communication. Start by calling a team meeting to discuss changes. Then, open the floor for questions. Throughout the change process, keep team members in the loop with one-on-one meetings, team meetings, and email communication.
Seek Out Feedback
Your team members will have thoughts about any change. Seeking their feedback provides them with the opportunity to express their concerns. This gives you the chance to add clarity to the conversation. Knowing that they are heard will help to reduce anxiety and fear surrounding the change.
Some team members may not feel comfortable expressing their concerns or negativity openly. If you create an avenue for anonymous feedback, all team members will feel like they can speak openly and it will give you a good pulse on how people are adjusting to the change.
Share the Vision
Giving your team a head’s up that change is coming is great. Explaining the vision surrounding the change is even better. Clearly explaining the vision for change helps your team to see that the change is a reality and not some vague notion happening sometime in the future.
Provide clarity around changing goals and organizational structure. Outline which changes are happening immediately and which are more long-term. Everyone needs to know if and how their role will change based on the upcoming changes. Have managers share the vision with each person during one-to-one meetings.
Change is messy. As you work through changes in your organization, it isn’t going to feel flawless or run smoothly. The best thing that you can do is acknowledge that reality and remind your team that the change is intended to benefit the most people possible.
Reiterate that message during weekly one-on-ones and be deliberate about caring for your people before, during, and after the change. Ask intentional questions to ensure that your staff feels informed and comfortable.
Sometimes change is anticipated. Especially when it comes to staff transitions, there are times when you can develop a plan for change before it happens.
Senior leaders, nearing retirement age, need a succession plan. Leadership should identify and develop someone who is capable of transitioning into the position. This may involve leadership development focused on effective management skills or a focus on the soft skills of communication, teamwork, or time management.
Teams can also create plans in the event a member leaves. This generally involves clear documentation of processes and roles as well as cross-training.
Having these plans in place ahead of time will help to minimize disruption and build confidence that changes can be enacted successfully.
Change will always be uncomfortable and challenging. In the end, the people in your organization are still your greatest asset. Ensuring that they are engaged, trained, and empowered will make any transition or change smoother.
Leadr has the tools to help you effectively develop and empower your people. Request a demo to see how our software can help you navigate change and maintain vision effectively.