Last week I warned against making lots of changes early on when moving into a new role. However no business stands still and there will times when changes really are necessary. These might be simply to comply with legislation, or respond to customers’ changing expectations, making efficiencies through new technology, or to inject new energy, there comes a time when it’s time to make changes.
People generally don’t like change, particularly when they’ve been doing a job the same way for years. And they object…
“But, we’ve always done it this way”
When people have been doing things a certain way for any length of time making changes – any changes – can be met with some resistance.
Particularly so when managers or heads of departments are new to the team. and their teams have got used to a certain way of working.
Why does this happen, even when it’s clear it is for the best?
People generally don’t like change.
That can be for a number of reasons. Here are some of them…
- Unfamiliarity and something new to learn
- Believing the ‘old’ way is a better way
- Resentment as they see any change as a criticism of how they do things now
- Can’t see any benefit of the change
- Fearing the new way will be more work, difficult to master or they might be exposed
- Don’t understand what’s expected of them now
- Believing they’re too old to change their ways
So what can managers do to make changes that will be accepted, embraced, and implemented effectively.
Here are 10 tips to making changes
Share you vision of what you want to achieve as a result of the change(s)
Spell out how it will benefit the individuals concerned (e.g. save time, make the task easier or safer)
Ask the team for their input on what and how to make the changes
Give all the support, resources and coaching needed to make the change
- Early wins
Start with activities which will result in some quick wins so get the momentum going, and share these amongst the team to help get buy in early on
Ensure everyone in the team is working to the same standards so there are no mixed messages. It only takes one person of influence to derail all your efforts to make change
- Incremental changes
Be patient, and start with small changes over time
- Inspect what you expect
Follow up with your team on how well they are implementing the changes, providing feedback and encouragement, and further support when needed
- Embed new habits
Recognise it takes time for the new way to become habit, so continue to monitor, and give feedback
- Communicate – communicate – communicate
Keep everyone informed of the changes and what these mean to them
If you only do one thing when making changes:
Before you implement changes involve your team in the process to get their ideas on how to achieve the result you want.
Related blog post: Getting employee buy-in