CHANGE…mention it in a mixed crowd, and you will get several reactions.
The “I-wired” get giddy at the mere mention of the word. Change means something new, and to anyone with shiny object syndrome, it is the magical key that releases them from the boredom of the mundane. Mundane to the “I-wired” is anything that takes more than about five minutes.
The “D-wired” welcome it with open arms, saying something like, “Bring it on!” They are ready to take charge and make the change happen immediately.
And then there are the more introverted folks among us. To them, the word change strikes a disharmonious chord.
The “S-wired” see it as a disruption to their peaceful, orderly routine, while the “C-wired” start to create a mental checklist of every little detail and 4,245 reasons why it will not work.
While we smile at our differences, change really is a serious matter. We need change to create progress and to keep things interesting. We welcome the changes of seasons. We like to redecorate, redesign, renew. And yet change can also be dangerous if not handled properly.
The leadership in one company decided changes were needed. That’s good. But they decided that a LOT of change was needed IMMEDIATELY, and that was not such a smart move. They implemented a brand new, very complex, and not yet proven software system company wide. At the same time, they built a new building and moved all employees to a new location. And they decided to pursue a joint venture with another major corporation, causing major organization changes. Yes…all at once. Care to venture a guess as to how that company is doing today? The fact is, it no longer exists. Too much change – too fast and without proper planning – killed the company’s bottom line and the spirit of its people.
How do you manage change well?
Consider the effect on your people. Communicate the change clearly and give the “S and C-wired” folks on your team time to assimilate the idea. They will have questions. Answer patiently.
Have a plan. That sounds too obvious, yet there are those who embrace change so much they take off all the time without a plan. This is never a good thing. Plan the steps you will take and budget time and money with plenty of room to spare. Plan your strategy for not only how things should work – but how you will deal with the obstacles.
Ask for input, especially from the introverts in your group. You need their detail and organization just as much as they need you to keep things moving forward. Listen and consider what they have to say during times of change. They most likely have valid concerns and very often, some of the best solutions to problems you will encounter along the way. (Translation: Their input could save your hide!)
Never change just for the sake of change. This is disruptive. Change should be targeted.
Go steadily at a measured pace. It has been said, “Plan your work, work your plan, and don’t get sidetracked.” Keep a cool head and move forward steadily.
Encourage your team. Changes – even good changes – bring stress. Be extra considerate of your team during times of change. Be sure they have the tools they need to do what needs to be done, and by all means, keep the lines of communication open. Keeping a good dose of chocolate on hand also helps!
Do YOU have a plan…for change?