- Read or listen to the 6-episodes below (6-minutes reading/listening time)
- Come prepared with a question, idea or best practice to share with group
- Ask Lila (Mentalnotes.ai) for additional support as needed
Sailing Through Change
Dealing with change is like being a sailor fighting against the wind. If the wind’s against you, don’t push back; just shift your sails and go with it. Use what seems to be working against you to your advantage.
It’s kind of like zig-zagging in a sailboat to move against the wind. You’ve got to be flexible, quick on your feet, and smart enough to turn problems into opportunities. It’s never a straight path, and it’s rarely a breeze.
A good captain doesn’t fight the wind; they work with it. In the same way, a leader who’s managing change doesn’t wrestle with problems; she sees them coming and uses them to her advantage, steering the team where they need to go.
It takes guts to go against the wind, and the smarts to see change as something you can use, not just something in your way. That’s what moves us forward.
Change isn’t something to be scared of; it’s like the wind pushing us to new places. We just have to be wise enough to steer the right course.
Changing what we need
Do you know how sometimes change can feel a bit scary or annoying? Well, a lot of that comes down to four basic things we all need. First, there’s Certainty. We like to know what’s going on, and if something new pops up, it can feel unsettling. Then there’s Variety. Sure, we need some excitement, but too much change too fast? That can be overwhelming.
Now, Connection is about our relationships with others. Change that messes with our team or friends at work? No wonder we might push back. And finally, there’s Significance. We all want to feel valued. If change makes us feel less important, we might not like it.
So next time there’s a big change at work, think about these four needs.
- Connection, and
Understanding them can make change feel less like a challenge and more like a chance to grow. It’s all about finding the balance and working together.
“Reactance” is like that feeling you get when someone tells you what to do, and you just want to do the opposite. It’s a natural reaction when people feel like their choices are being taken away.
Let’s say your boss introduces a new rule or process without any warning or explanation. It might feel like you’re being ordered around, and that natural urge to resist kicks in. That’s reactance in action.
If workers feel like they’re being told what to do without any say in the matter, they might push back against the new ideas. It’s not that they don’t want to help or that they’re being stubborn; they just don’t like feeling controlled.
The trick to avoiding this is to include them in the process. If workers understand why a change is needed and have a say in how it happens, that urge to resist can turn into a willingness to help. It’s all about making people feel like they’re part of the change, not just being told what to do. That way, reactance doesn’t have to be a roadblock; it can be something you work with, not against.
Change Management Pitfalls
When implementing changes, managers often stumble across pitfalls that can hinder success.
A frequent mistake is the lack of clear communication, leading to confusion among team members. Ignoring employee concerns can create disengagement, while insufficient planning causes chaos.
Failing to build buy-in from team members leads to resistance, and inconsistency in leadership creates uncertainty.
Managers must also recognize the resource needs of the change process. Overlooking time, money, or support can result in significant delays.
Equally important is aligning changes with the organizational culture to avoid clashes. Expecting immediate results is unrealistic, as patience and persistence are often needed for meaningful change.
Finally, neglecting follow-up and evaluation can prevent lasting success. By understanding these common mistakes and navigating them wisely, managers can create a smooth and effective change process that fosters growth and innovation.
How to facilitate change
A front-line manager can ease their team into an unwanted change by first understanding the change and then communicating it clearly. Explain why it’s happening and what it means for everyone. Open the floor to their concerns, listening with empathy, and acknowledging their feelings.
If possible, get team members involved in some decision-making, giving them a sense of control. Provide support like training or resources they might need, and make it known that you’re there for them.
Keep tabs on how the change is going and be ready to adjust things if needed. Regular check-ins can make the transition smoother.
Celebrate even small wins along the way, keeping the mood positive. Your own attitude matters a lot too, so show the team that you’re on board with the change, even if it’s tough.
The main idea is to be clear, caring, and supportive. This can make the team feel understood and part of the process, turning something unwanted into a shared journey. By working together and staying open to their feelings, a manager can help the team accept and even embrace the change.
Change management checklist
If you're a front-line manager facing the task of implementing an unpopular change, this checklist can guide you through the process:
1. Understand the Change:
- Identify why the change is necessary.
- Determine how it aligns with company goals.
2. Communicate Clearly:
- Explain the change and the reasons behind it.
- Provide regular updates to keep everyone informed.
3. Involve Your Team:
- Ask for input and listen to concerns.
- Include team members in planning when possible.
4. Provide Support:
- Offer training or resources to ease the transition.
- Be available for questions and concerns.
5. Show Empathy:
- Acknowledge that the change may be difficult.
- Validate feelings and concerns.
6. Lead by Example:
- Embrace the change yourself.
- Demonstrate a positive attitude.
7. Monitor Progress:
- Track the implementation and make adjustments as needed.
- Celebrate successes along the way.
8. Provide Rewards and Recognition:
- Recognize cooperation and effort.
- Reward those who contribute positively to the change.
9. Evaluate and Reflect:
- Assess the impact of the change.
- Reflect on what went well and what could be improved.
Remember, the key to implementing unpopular change is transparency, empathy, and strong leadership. By following this checklist, you can help guide your team through the change with as little resistance as possible.