How Can You Get People To Embrace Change Especially When They Are Overwhelmed?

By nature, most of us don’t like change. We like to feel competent and processes, systems, and the “known” make us feel efficient.

So change, feels like turmoil.  For some people it is exhilarating as it is seen as opportunity but for most people it is seen as a struggle you need to go through before you land at “efficient” again.

So the first thing you need to realize is that every single person processes change differently and your job is to lead them through it.  With Outcome Thinking you want to look at what ever change you are asking for and how it will impact them. Recognize the frustrations it will cause and openly talk about how to overcome them.  Don’t over play the positives of change or downplay the impact it has on them.  You will come off as fake if you do the former and patronizing if you do the later.

Instead do the following:

  1. Tell the group what the change will be.
  2. Tell the why the change is happening.
  3. Acknowledge the impact it has on how they do things today and how for a period of time they will feel awkward with it.
  4. Acknowledge that you value them, acknowledge the work on their plate, and acknowledge that the challenge is not whether they like the change but rather how as a group you will proceed through the change as best as possible.

Most of all, avoid a pity party where people complain about the change.  Remember if you ask your team, “how do you feel about this change” they will most likely come from the protective stance of “I don’t want this change, it is more work for me”  which means they will fight you.


Leadership Development

September 23, 2010 at 1:00 CST

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