Everyone is hesitant of change; in any environment. As business owners and leaders though we need to ensure we continue to make effective, informed decisions even if we feel overwhelmed or threatened by the thought of change.
It often takes people a while to ‘get their heads around’ what changes will mean to them. So, how can business owners and leaders keep their head in the face of change?.. The key is to connect with people, purpose, values and objectivity. Here’s how:
While there are employees who just want to do the minimum no matter what you do to motivate them, others will have a true interest in your business. This will be because they relate to your cause, understand business themselves, simply enjoy greater responsibility… or perhaps a mixture of all these.
Value your staff and their opinions for improvement ideas and you will literally see a bulb light up within them as they will feel motivated and energised.
What is key for any change is that it is consistent with the purpose of the business. For example, for a manufacturer, their ultimate purpose is the wellbeing of their retailers, and the customers that they serve.
For anyone facing proposals for change, they need to make a judgement about whether the change proposed is “right” and whether it will serve a purpose, not just now, but in the future too. It’s important to constantly evaluate whether that balance is right, not just at the beginning but throughout the process.
People who are normally positive, encouraging and supportive can temporarily transform at times of change to negative, aggressive and angry; it is human nature.
To avoid this, stay connected with your values; a strong change programme will not just focus on the details of processes and systems. It will also clarify and explore how the values of the organisation and the people within it relate to the change.
As soon as someone makes a proposal to make something change it is our natural instinct to evaluate it. We generally do this by considering how it effects our own status quo and listening to the loudest voices around us.
However, if we truly want to make an objective evaluation we need more information than that.
Change is disruptive, uncertain and we can’t be sure it’s going to deliver the results that are hoped for. We have to be open to the possibility that not all steps of the journey need to be mapped out yet for it to be a good destination, and that we might not enjoy all the steps. Most importantly consider how much more likely those results are going to be achieved if we ourselves get on board.
We also have to be careful about the strong voices. It’s easy to come up with reasons why something that doesn’t exist yet will never succeed. They could, of course, be right; we can’t eliminate that possibility. So it’s up to us to keep our heads about us, to actively evaluate those criticisms and theories for ourselves, and make our own judgement.
To support all of this, change leaders need to make sure as much information is shared and that concerned voices are listened to and responded to respectfully. That way those who are hearing the message have a chance of being objective about it.
Ultimately, by considering people, purpose, values and objectivity it is possible to keep your head in business when change is all about you.