As the Greek Philosopher Heraclitus famously said, “The only thing that is constant is change,” and although change can be positive, for many, just the prospect of change causes anxiety and fear.
As the fitness industry changes constantly, it is imperative that as leaders we are on the forefront of managing change. Your role is to create a compelling vision of how the change will take place, the desirable outcome of the change, and to share this through communication, actions and training. In doing so, you will minimize resistance and provide reassurance for the team that the change is positive.
The key to successful change implementation is to pre-emptively overcome the resistance to change, by first understanding the psychological causes of resistance. This can include a real or perceived psychological threat; fear of loss of job security; new conditions of employment; feelings of uncertainty; fear of not coping; and a change in job or learning of new skills.
Spencer Johnson’s book “Who Moved My Cheese” is a great business fable around four characters who live in a maze, and the lessons learned as they search for their “cheese” (what they want in life). The characters represent the common attitudes and resistance toward change and the consequences of their actions.
The key message of the book is that change is inevitable, so we need to be agile enough to anticipate change, and quickly adapt. “If you do not change, you can become extinct,” said Johnson.
Therefore, some of the key ways as leaders we can implement change successfully are to:
Communicate: Be on the forefront, and communicate the vision early involving all key stakeholders, starting with the senior management team. Communicate the reasons for change and provide opportunity to address objections and uncertainty.
Involve the entire team: By involving them in this way, they will feel part of the process and the result will be better “buy in” from the team.
Be sensitive to individual needs: Understand that all employees will process change differently. Have a strategy to manage this process, always with a view of “what’s in it for them.” There is never a one-size-fits-all solution for everyone.
Kristen Green is the executive general manager of Aquafit.