Change is all around you. Likely you are working through, dealing with, and leading more than one change right now. As we face change and try to make change happen, we can’t lose sight of some keys to making it all work. And those keys aren’t about your change, but about human nature and how we adapt to and choose change. Let’s remember what can’t change in times of change… the humanity of it.
Here are six actions you can take that address human nature and help us all adapt, adjust and embrace change.
- Provide perspective. Even if times of massive change, not everything is changing. When we are leading change, we rightly need for people to understand what will be different. But by solely focusing on that, people forget how much remains the same. Often while details are changing the foundation isn’t moving as much as people think. Providing that perspective and giving people a reminder of what remains known and reliable, makes it easier for them to deal with what is changing.
- Uncover the unknown. If you want to make change happen, help people see the unseen. One of the things that holds us all back from changing is the unknown. When people can see the future a bit clearer, talk to others who have made a change, or even had the chance to remember when they have successfully navigated uncertainty in the past, they will be better able to deal with what comes next. The more we can help people see what is coming next, answer their questions about it, and just let them talk it out, the more ready they will be to move forward.
- Understand the why. Sometimes we don’t love a change that is coming. But often we can be behind the purpose for that same change. When instituting and leading change, help people understand the why for the change. Even if they don’t love the change – and even if they might have done it differently, when they see and understand the purpose for the change, they are more likely to accept it.
- Bring people in. When people are a part of the decision to change – or even part of the plan to implement it, they are far more likely to be accept and even embrace the change. Ownership create understanding. Action spurs momentum. Changes that are thrust upon us with no input or action are the hardest for anyone to accept.
- Give people time. Some changes come quickly, but many take time to implement. One of the ways we all come to accept or embrace a change is to have time to process and think about it. Often leaders are more onboard with a change than their team because they have had longer to think about it. Give people time and space and you might be surprised with how much easier it will be to make change happen.
- Provide hope. Change can be hard and emotionally draining. It can create anxiety and worry. Hope is powerful medicine for that. Provide a positive voice for the change and the future, without trying to make everything seem perfect. Listen to concerns, and help people see that the future will be bright, and they will succeed through the unknowns. Hope is more powerful than we remember when we lack it.
Change is hard enough when people see it clearly. It can become immobilizing when we can’t see past the worry distress and unknowns. When you remember and act on these ideas, you will reduce the fear, anxiety and caution people feel about the change being faced. When you apply them, you give people a better perspective about the change and help them individually navigate the change more effectively – even when they don’t love the change itself.
Change is the currency of leadership – the status quo requires no leadership. That’s why all leaders must constantly focus on how to lead change effectively. If you want to make change happen for your team and in your organization, the Leading Change Effectively Master Class can help. Learn more and get started today.