Change is one of the hardest things to achieve in a business, but many will try without understanding that change for most employees is also extremely hard and not to mention stressful. Before you start down the change for improvement route there are some things to consider: As the owner / CEO it is your role to create the vision of outcomes and lead from the front. I like to think of this leadership style as the “know your team are with you without looking behind to see.” If you have to continually check to be sure they are with you, they obviously haven’t got either their hearts or their minds on board. As the change leader and not just the change manager, your role is to-
- Set the vision and sell it.Let everyone know where you want to get to. Part of the journey may well be creating the road map. Have clarity of purpose – change is difficult enough and it should have solid reasons. If you cannot articulate the reasons then your objectives will not be clear.
- Explain how you see the impacton the people and not just the business. Employees, even senior ones will be encouraged when they hear, “The whole team will thrive as we create this new chapter in our company’s growth”, versus “we need to change and improve what we do to be more competitive”.
- Be confident.Don’t waver at those who say “I don’t want change”. Be ready for different ways you will hear this, it can come in many different forms. Sometimes you will see defensive measures where they will find a place to hide, others will go on the attack to ensure the change will not impact them and only impact others — these behaviors can come from managers as well as the general employee group.
- Stay calm in the confusion. If you are truly a change leader you are likely to frighten some of the team because you expect some failure. They will hate this so you need to be calm and considerate if and when failure occurs.
- Be open to discussion, and think about ways employee’s ideas can be integrated providing the vision is not destroyed. Allow discussion as it will help alleviate the anxiety that change conjures up in people. They must be guided through the process.
So are you a change leader as described above? Or are you a change manager?
The change manager’s primary role is to drive the vision while using the appropriate tools to keep the change train on the tracks