Thousands of years ago, Heraclitus said, “There is nothing permanent except change.” We’d all agree that statement is still valid today, despite the millions of technological advances we’ve seen since his time.
At a minimum, you should consider three things when seeking change within your teams or organization.
1: No matter how comfortable you are with the change, your team isn’t.
Innovators do just that: innovate. I speak from experience when I tell you that I have no allegiance to systems or processes once I find a better way to do something. Having said that, though, it took me a long time to learn to slow my roll and involve my team in developing the change I sought.
In Building a StoryBrand, Donald Miller says, “The number one job of an executive is to remind the stakeholders what the mission is, over and over.” It’s also an accepted psychological truism that people need to hear something seven times before they believe it.
I implore you to learn to include your team in your change processes. Communicate with them. Over-communicate with them.
Bringing your team with you on the change journey will set you up for success and remove unnecessary future drama.
2: Most people live in a state of fear regarding ANYTHING new.
Never underestimate how much resistance to change lives within your team. No matter how long you’ve worked with them, the sad news is that they most likely won’t tell your their true feelings (emotions) regarding upcoming changes.
Too many executives and project managers wrongly take this silence as consent/acceptance for changes.
You do so at your peril.
Fear drives teammates to act irrationally. These actions are often deliberately contrary to the outcomes you seek and serve to do little more than add drama and confusion to your workplace.
Fear also kills previously established trust. Remember this: trust is established much like a bank savings account: it takes a long time, and many deposits to build but is quickly and easily wiped out without discipline.
3: Change will not be as easy as you think and will take far longer than you imagine.
Optimism bias is real. We all tend to convince ourselves of the ease of our chosen path.
In the military, we have a saying that is highly relevant to business, “No plan survives contact with the enemy.”
For the record, I’m not categorizing your staff and teammates as “the enemy,” just making a point that once outside elements come into play, your plans rarely survive intact.
There is even a word for this. What was it, again?
Oh yeah: change.