Planning for More Change

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So, how is your planning for change going?

Last week we got a couple of tips from Coach Melissa Creede. This week she is back with some additional things to plan for!

Take it away, Melissa.

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Let’s look again at what Sarah and other could have done differently to ensure a successful change endeavour.

3. Make it tangible and relevant to each person’s reality

Resistance often comes from employees feeling as though a change is being thrust upon them with no clear idea of the purpose of the initiative. They also might feel stress or anxiety around ‘what does it mean for me?’ ‘How will this affect my day-to-day work?’. Sarah is a great visionary, but she doesn’t always stop and think about the impact to the individual employees. Since she had no vested interest in their current reality, she underestimated theirs.

Ideas to try:

  • Talk to your team (both together and individually).
  • Think about those questions they may have of, “What does this mean for me?”
  • Talk through those questions together, and get their buy-in so that they can see how this will benefit them.
  1. Start, iterate, and adjust

Sarah had a bit of a perfectionist streak. She wanted her ideas to be perfectly formed and her plans, documents, and presentations to impress and influence. She would often send things to her colleagues at the last minute because she was busy perfecting them. They felt frustrated because they didn’t have proper time to review or contribute to the documents, and disrespected and dismissed because ideas came so fully formed, and so late in the process, that it seemed as though she didn’t really want to consider their contributions anyway.

Ideas to try:

  • Bring others along with you and be ok with it being messy.
  • Too often, people leading change go off and work hard on coming up with strategic visions, communication plans, and all the other pieces of the puzzle.
    • Ask yourself, who can I include in each part of the plan (the vision, the communication, etc.)?
  1. Stick with it

Sarah was impatient to see the bold changes she envisioned enacted quickly. She was frustrated that things were taking so long. She often tried to ‘speed things up,’ which usually resulted in the initiative screeching to a halt.

Ideas to try:

  • Appreciate that people adapt to and embrace change at different paces.
    • This can be something as small as a new milestone document and as large as company culture change.
  • Allow for the needed time.
    • Sometimes change can happen quickly, and sometimes people need to all get on the same page first.

I’m happy to say that Sarah and the team are back on track, working well together, and getting pretty excited about what’s possible in their future. Are they exactly where Sarah wanted them to be a year ago? No. But they are much, much further ahead than they were 3 months ago. They’re working well together, staying curious, and definitely moving in the right direction together.

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