'Change' is essential, communicating it can be hazardous...
'Change' is a process every business must go through if it is to thrive.
Without change, businesses would struggle to be competitive, dynamic, viable even.
However announcing a new change at work can leave you with a stony-faced audience. This is because, for many people, change can bring fear, uncertainty and a lack of control. These emotions, if not adequately managed, can quickly lead to a highly unproductive and de-motivated team.
What sort of changes cause fear?
Any change that is going to create a difference in someones working day can be a trigger for fear and uncertainty.
This could include the introduction of a new line manager, a promotion, redundancies, new technologies or processes, rumours of a company sale etc.
Any change at work - even a change that has been hoped for - has the potential to raise feelings of inadequacy, a fear of messing up or a fear of having to justify a contribution made.
How to reduce the risk associated with change
If you're someone who has to convey change to a team or individual as part of your role, the way you communicate it will be of paramount importance.
Here's some guidance;
- Provide context - set the scene, why this change? Why now?
- Be clear and concise - outline the change leaving no room for misinterpretation
- Discuss expectations and implications - what does this change mean for the individual? For the organisation?
- Leave the door open - sometimes it will take a while to grasp the detail of the change at the point of communication, so let it be known you are happy to discuss the subject again as the need arises
- Understand response - take the time to recognise and acknowledge response to this change, showing empathy and support when required
Once the change has been properly communicated, a process should be put in place to ensure the individual or team are guided, supported and remain motivated.
For anyone interested in delving deeper into managing change, our upcoming 'Embracing Change' Masterclass also examines:
- Lewin’s 3 Stage Model of change: an easy to use framework for the change process
- Planning change and reducing the risks using Force Field Analysis
- The importance of taking a systems perspective
- How people respond to change: the Change Curve