When you lead others through change, every word you say… action you initiate… instinct you ignore… EVERYTHING you do impacts how others respond to the plan-of-action required to make the transition to your successfully integrated new world.
Two aspects of organization transition must be monitored at every turn. Envision putting on a pair of glasses that allow you to see everything through new lenses. The two lenses are resistance and performance. With every action, email, meeting, coaching, or greeting, you should consider, “How does this lower resistance?” and “How does this preserve performance?”
About the Resistance Lens:
The people around you will resist at every turn of the playbook page. Learn to read the signs! You will resist the change each time you discover another part of your world that will be disrupted by it. The most important person to convince is you.
As soon as you are on-board, your focus must turn to the resistance you see around you. If you don’t address the resistance, it turns quickly to resentment, and that emotion is so much more difficult to turn into productivity. In extreme cases that resentment erodes into revenge: a loss of revenue in many forms.
Craft your communication to consistently include these three aspects that can help reduce resistance. Help them envision the future: talk realistically about the positive results the changes are expected to bring. Remind them of dissatisfaction with the status quo: share honestly about the negative results of not changing or of not being a productive part of the change. Revisit the transition plan: help them see the big picture and focus on the next steps to take toward implementation.
About the Performance Lens:
Every time you change something – ANYTHING – about the way you’ve been consistently performing, your quality, quantity or effectiveness goes down and your effort goes up. It’s physics! Accept it, plan for it, and fight as hard as you can to get through it quickly!
You must push performance forward and create a new normal as fast as you can. The longer it takes to acknowledge the change, try the change, and find solutions to issues caused by the change, the more your productivity drops. The more your productivity drops, the more revenue you lose during the transition.
And don’t forget that as soon as your back is turned, people will sneak right back to the way they were doing it before. It’s natural for all of us, but it’s also another opportunity for you to address resistance.
Significant changes like restructures, re-locations, workforce reductions, acquisitions, or mergers can cause long months of chaos. But looking at each of your actions through these two lenses can keep you closer to the path of sanity. If you need help equipping yourself or your team to survive change, we have experience that can help you avoid dangerous territory.