And because change management (or change leadership) is a problem I see many clients face, today I want to go into it a little more.
I want to give you three deceptively simple yet immensely powerful strategies to help you lead your team through change.
OK, actually, before I do that, I want to help you understand how your people feel when they need to change.
Remember, moving away from one set of actions to another means they have to think about it. They can’t fall just go into “robot-mode” as they normally do.
Leading your team through change is very similar to breaking in a new pair of shoes
New shoes may look great, but usually feel awful! They’re often uncomfortable to walk in, at least until you break them in.
Once you become used to them, they might even grow to be comfortable. Sometimes the dreaded new pair becomes your favourite.
You can’t try to force people to change (even their shoes) by telling them, “this is the way we are going to do things now.”
Your people are uncomfortable and maybe a bit worried, too.
Here’s where the three strategies come in.
- Explain the Why.
The “why” should be the first step of any change strategy. If you’re a parent, your kids will have taught you this. Their stock standard answer is “why” to any request, isn’t it? Adults are just big kids. We still want to know why. It’s the “why” which helps us justify the change and embed it in our brains.
- Maintain the focus.
Nothing runs smoothly and everything takes longer than you expect, right? It’s up to you to help keep your team focused on the goal and the “why”. Lots of honest communication, some success stories, some good old barracking… You’re the fuel which keeps your team running. Make sure you’re doing the job properly.
- Map your progress.
Hey, those shoes aren’t as uncomfortable as they used to be! When you’re working hard to bring in change, it’s almost inevitable you’ll lose track of where you began. As leader, it’s your job to show your team how far they’ve come. That’s motivating! And a bit of celebration won’t hurt, either.
See? I told you they were simple.
They are so simple you’d be surprised at how many times these strategies are overlooked.
I’m sure you’ll have some questions about this so go ahead and leave them in the comments below. I’ll reply asap.