Human beings do not like change. This is a fact, proven time and again whenever we’re forced to step out of our comfort zones. However, in business, whether it be a merger, a takeover or simply strategic movement, change is absolutely necessary for survival. How do we ensure that our teams are comfortable with such change, whatever it may be?
Communication. This is the most fundamental aspect of any type of change management. How we communicate, with whom we communicate and the timeliness of such communication matters most. For example, let’s say your company is about to embark on a great promotional campaign to increase sales for the quarter. The Agency pitches, the management team loves the concept and you’re ready to roll out the advertising. However, the sales team - the people who are supposed to execute the promotion - have no idea about it. Would the promotion be a success?
On a much larger scale, when companies undergo change in the sense of a takeover or merger, it is absolutely important to engage all your people. If not, forward movements become undermined and weak. Communication is the key word.
Assistance. Not everyone deals with change in the same way. Some may view change as a crisis. Some may go into a shell, while others may try to discredit the process. Others may simply decide to make a move. It is important to know the personalities of your people when dealing with them and how they interpret change. You may think this is virtually impossible if you have a large organization with hundreds of people. I refer you to Jack Welch and his “corner store grocery” approach to business where he made it his duty to know all employees by name. If you truly know your employees, you will be able to ascertain how they adapt to change. Of course, engagement of your HR team is sure to help!
Know the troublemakers. When undergoing change, there exists in every organization that one person (or more, if you’re unlucky!) who will try to create a dark cloud over whatever strategy has been suggested or implemented. Create a specific style of dealing with this person or else they will have the power to erode all the great work you’re trying to do.
At the end of the day, change can be really comfortable. Think about it: when you change a baby’s diaper, it may be an unpleasant task for you, but how does the baby feel?