Managing Change – Get them on board

Colin was quite impulsive – so much so that on some days he would wear his Wednesday socks on a Thursday. It wasn’t only his socks that bore the brunt of his impulsiveness, Colin was the same at work too, especially when it came to leading change within his team.

Colin’s team were going through lots of change recently – changes in processes, people and procedures. It was never ending.  One evening, over his bedtime Ovaltine, Colin had a great idea.

He legged it into work the next day, bought everyone a frothy coffee and told them about his ground-breaking idea for driving change. He nodded politely at those who expressed concerns, ignored those who were the even slightest bit reluctant and told a few others who had ideas of their own that he would “Look into it pronto”. Which of course he never would.

Colin pressed on with his plans (– and only his plans).  Five weeks later he was found licking his wounds over a lion bar in the canteen. Not surprisingly, Colin’s plans had failed miserably.  He hadn’t listened to his team. He hadn’t got their buy-in for the changes he had imposed; he simply hadn’t got them all on board.

If you’re planning a change, make sure you ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Have you got buy-in for the change from your entire team? If not, how can you get everyone engaged and passionate enough to share their ideas and concerns
  2. Who in your team are most likely to resist the change? Why? What can you do to help them?
  3. Do your team feel uncertain about the change? What can you do to ease their uncertainty?
  4. What challenges might you face in attempting to make the change a success? How do you intend to overcome such challenges?
  5. Whose help do you need to enlist to ensure that the change is a success? How do you intend to get everyone on board?

The PU View

Employees have a voice.  They want to air their thoughts and opinions. They most probably have some great ideas.  In our opinion, the manager must create a culture where people can speak up.  A culture where they can challenge the status quo without fear.  Only then will employees feel like they have been heard and as a result will most likely buy into change.  Shackling employees only leads to a lack of trust and resentment.  Basically, don’t do a Colin!

Book Recommendation

A really great book for leading change is Switch; How to change things when change is hard, by Chip and Dan Heath.  It’s packed full advice and tips to help you successfully lead your next change project.

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