Being able to turn an organisation around by being a positive change agent is the real test of a great leader. People feel awkward and self-conscious when asked to do something new. It could be as simple as changing staff seating arrangement or rotating staff across different teams or proposing a cross-training plan for few identified staff due to change in circumstances or business priorities.
When people hear that change is coming, the first thing they do is ask, “How is this going to affect me?” Why? Because they are worried that they will have to give up something. Here is what I learned over the years, “For everything you gain, you lose something”. So it’s unrealistic to expect not to give up anything and achieve progress. Most of the time, people undergoing a change in the organisations forget that they are not alone in the process.
As a leader, you would need to develop a process to plan what needed to be changed. Ask yourself “How do you eat an elephant? ” One bite at a time, correct. Usually, once I predetermine the change, I focus more on the process than the event. If you overestimate the event and underestimate the process, then you are setting up yourself for failure.
I don’t share the information about changes with everyone in the organisation at one time. I don’t make the communication “fair”, and I make it strategic. As a leader, before you let the masses know what’s going on, you need to meet with your key people and communicate with them. How do you know who your key people are? Ask yourself two questions. Who needs to get behind this to make it fly? Who actually has to fly this change? The answers to the above questions point me to the people who need to know about changes before everyone else does. Most of the times, the structure of your organisation will help you identify these people.
I meet first with the people whose influence is needed to make the changes fly because if they don’t buy-in, the plan is never going to work. I’ll need to work with them to earn their buy-in. Usually, these meetings happen one-on-one or in tiny groups. By telling them about the change before it’s public knowledge, I am giving them valuable information, making them feel special, and including them on the journey. It is an act of inclusion that most people appreciate.
This personal approach also allows us for open discussion, honest reactions, questions and objections. I think of these connection times as meetings before the meeting. If these go well, then I share the information with the people who care the most, that is the one who will carry out the implementation of the plan. Once everything goes well then we will announce it to larger groups throughout the organisation.
If my meetings before the meeting don’t go well, then I meet with those key individuals again and keep meeting with them until we can work through the objections and they buy into the change. The key players on the team or in the organisation must be willing participants and involved in the process for it to work.
In this article, I have shared a valuable #LeadTip, which I learned by being John Maxwell Team member. It certainly worked for me and helped me to bring a lot of changes in my organisation. Try it yourself and do let me know whether it helped you or not?