One of the most challenging roles as a leader is managing and implementing change within an organization. People can be resistant to change, making it difficult for you to reach the outcome you are after. Some important things to remember when managing change include:
Change is a personal experience. Each person on your team must understand why the change is occurring, or it will hinder the implementation of whatever you are changing. Remember that change must happen at an individual level before it happens at an organizational level. Start managing change by preparing your people. Share the why, then discuss the change in process or procedure.
Many times, change fails because we don’t take into account the team’s personal concerns. The team’s concerns might be different than yours. As the leader, be sure to pay attention, ask questions and validate the feelings of those impacted. Concerns cannot be manipulated, only addressed. Help your team understand the why and they will adopt to the change when ready.
One of the biggest mistakes in implementing change is thinking you’ve communicated the change, and now you’re done. It takes more than one meeting, email or memo to accomplish change.
Change doesn’t happen overnight — it takes time. Constant follow-up is required. Make sure you’re not just coaching those who are slow to change; recognize those who have already done so. By praising those who have adopted to the change, you shift the team’s focus to the positive outcome of the change, rather than focusing on the negative of those who have not changed.
Implementing change isn’t glamorous, but the ability to do so successfully in our ever-changing industry can make a big impact on your personal success as a leader.
Chez Misko is the COO of Wisconsin Athletic Club.