Being a Change Ally

Not all people embrace change with the same level of enthusiasm. A percentage of the population will love and embrace change immediately. Some people simply tolerate change, and others deny, ignore or dislike change. and may try to stop it. Others cynically deny that change will actually ever happen. 

By understanding how your team will either positively or negatively impact the change process, we can predict the potential success or failure of change initiatives.  We can anticipate the barriers to expect and, therefore, the hurdles to overcome during the change initiative.  Ignore these issues, and you increase the probability of delay's in execution  and / or change failure. 

Understanding the impact of change on people’s identity is crucial. People will only own what makes sense to them and fits with their sense of self. Shared meaning is critical- this cannot be achieved by attempting to “sell the change” to your team or thinking you can simply “tell” your employees to make changes. To really engage your team,  you need to know what matters to each individual, what’s going on under the surface - especially if you need to find ways of encouraging them to focus on possibilities rather than what the change is likely to cost them. 

We tend to notice and put our attention on  the cost,  and quality of change. But that is just the small tip of the Change Iceburg. There is a lot going on underneath when change is happening. Underneath observable  behaviors during change, we have many different beliefs, reactions and emotions  that influence whether change will be successful or not. If we do not study what is happening underneath, we often see disengagement, low morale, high turn over, and employee’s resisting or obstructing change. When team members obstruct or try to sabotage change it can be expensive, both financially and emotionally.

There is one powerful,  successful strategy for minimizing resistance: Involve people

                      “People will help support what they co-create” Marvin Weisbord"

1.  Helping your team embrace change starts with painting a compelling vision of the future, Paint pictures for people of what change will mean for them in practice. Involve them in looking at where you are now, and where you want to be. Create a vision for them of how you will get there together, and leave room for their input and ideas. 

2. Know what motivates and drives each team member and connect the change to those meaningful motivators.  What will stay the same? What will be  different? What will people will be doing differently?

 3. Understand the talent you have. Recognize the strengths your team members have, and leverage those by asking people to be a part of helping with the change. Playing to your teams strengths and delegating change management accordingly gives your team a sense of control over the change and increases the chance of it being  successful.

 4. Help people make the paradigm shifts required by acknowledging that you know each member has a different pace for change and different reactions. Make yourself an ally for change and available for questions and concerns so people feel seen and heard.

Lastly, prepare and expect resistance. Resistance doesn't mean anything bad is happening. It simply means something is happening. It is normal to resist. Making yourself an ally for change conveys to your team that change is a collaborative effort, not a mandate. It reminds your team that we all want the same thing: success.