Change is inevitable. It never stops. There is a quote that says, “The only thing that remains the same is change.” Why, then, do so many of us fear change in the workplace?
Do we fear change or do we fear the unknown? Do we fear change or the possibility that we might fail? Do we fear change or the belief we will have to work harder?
When introducing change to the workplace, most leaders meet a wall of resistance. Knowing what the wall is can help reduce or obliterate it.
In order to assist your employees with the changes which are going to occur within the company, it is wise to include them in the process from the beginning. What are some ways that you can include them?
- Challenge them to provide you with all the reasons why the proposed changes will not work.
- Ask them how they see the changes will affect their jobs or the jobs of their peers.
- Let them voice their opinions, thoughts and fears up front before the process ever begins.
Yet, it is not enough to simply ask. People want to be HEARD. They want to know their voice matters. They want to believe their knowledge is important and they want to share their knowledge.
When I first started coaching basketball, I didn’t believe my players, who were much younger than me, had anything relevant to offer. I thought due to my age and experience, I was better qualified to make all the decisions. What I forgot was that they were the ones on the court playing. They were the ones who were in the moment and who were feeling the game in a way that I could not. They heard things from their teammates and the opponents I didn’t hear. They were in the game and I was on the sideline.
While I could see things as a whole, they could see parts that I could not. Perhaps they knew a teammate was sick or brokenhearted over a boyfriend, which is why she was playing poorly. Maybe they overheard two opponents talking, and they knew what they were going to run before I did. Maybe they knew one of the opponents was mad at her teammates, something I couldn’t hear from the sideline. All of these variables affected the outcome of the game.
What I discovered after games is that I missed much of what was occurring on the court even though I was only a few feet away from the action. When I learned to allow my players to communicate with me and to listen to what they were saying, I discovered we won more games. It didn’t mean I surrendered my leadership position. I was still the person who made the tough decisions, but once I allowed the players to become a part of those decisions, we were much more effective and efficient.
The other plus that occurred when the players were involved is that they bought the changes we made in the game more easily. Even if we threw out everything we had prepared for the game and tried something totally new, they bought into it. The key probably wasn’t the new game plan as much as the willingness on the part of the players to execute it.
How you execute change within your company determines your success or failure. Having great communication with your team members and allowing them to be a part of the process creates an atmosphere where change is less likely to be resisted.