There are few things that are certain in the world. As said by Benjamin Franklin, “Nothing is certain but death and taxes.” However, people are wired to prefer consistency and fear change. In our earliest ancestors, change could lead to detrimental circumstances; weather changes, death, location changes, lack of food and water, new, unknown threats. These realities became hard-wired into our psyche and even now in 2020, the instinctual reaction to change is typically fear.
But as a species, we’ve evolved. In 1933, Franklin D Roosevelt said it best, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” When you apply this method of thinking to change, you acquire a powerful tool – adaptability. With ever-changing technology and workplace dynamics, being adaptable can go a long way. As a leader, it’s important to have your thumb on the pulse of your team and their predilections with change. That way, you can use all the tools in your arsenal to make any changes, large or small, successful with less stress and anxiety.
Being a leader in an organization doesn’t mean you are immune to the worries change can bring about, but it does mean you need to learn some skills to help you be more open to and flexible about change, so you can be the best resource for your team to get through any potentially tumultuous times unscathed.
These 5 Tips will give you a leg up on change and help your team succeed:
1- Set the expectation of ongoing change with everyone.
The most often forgotten step in the change preparation toolbox. If people expect things could change anytime, they become more open to the idea and set themselves up for change. Not that change is only in process, technologies, and work environment, but also in their skill sets. This positive spin on change helps remind them the truth that we, as humans, are always growing and changing for the better – even at work.
2- Prioritize people over process.
While processes are the fundamentals for how and when change occurs, the people in your organization are the cornerstone of how effectual the change with be. Without having good relationships with your team and others in the organization, there can be a lot of pushback. However, if you’ve done the necessary steps to creating a better working relationship by becoming a good mentor, you will already know the needs of each individual on your team and how best to coach them through whatever change is coming.
3- Push pause on perfection.
In any given day it is reported we make a whopping 35,000 decisions, 226.7 of them on food alone. If you focus on the food decisions alone, how many have you regretted? The reality of the world is no one makes the right decision every time, so if you can let go of the idea of perfection and encourage your team to do the same, it allows for the grace of growing pains that change can cause. Ultimately, pushing pause on the notion of perfection will lessen the pressure of change and put people in the perfect mindset to embrace whatever change your organization might face.
4- Prepare for the unexpected.
As with pretty much anything, it’s best to plan for the unexpected.
If a large change is coming down the pike, consider making small adjustments so that while some of the adaptations may fail, overall, you’ll fail into success. As discussed in the book, Fail Fast, Gail Often: How losing can help you win by Ryan Babineaux, Ph.D. and John Krumboltz, Ph.D., there is an art to failing to success. Knowing there’s a chance a change may fail at the onset, gives you more ability to try new, different, and multiple approaches to find the best one for you and your organization while not getting hung up on the failure itself. When you train your team to embrace change and be open to suggesting new ideas to embrace change, your success rates will be sure to skyrocket.
5- Be transparent.
During times of change in the workplace, most people cite the uncertainty as the biggest issue to overcome. This can take the form of job security, management changes, skill changes, etc. These uncertain metrics can cause a lot of undo stress amongst everyone on the team, so addressing concerns openly and honestly and being straightforward about your understanding of the upcoming change can help reduce stress, get a higher amount of buy-in, and encourage your team to find avenues to foster a positive environment for success.
Change can be hard, but it doesn’t need to be. The best leaders in the industry are always open to change and ensure their team is ready for embracing whatever challenges and changes may come their way. To learn more about honing your adaptability skills, contact us today to learn how we can help you and the leaders in your organization learn to commit to change. Great leaders grow great businesses and we are experts in creating great leaders.