Raise your hand if you have ever been through a change. Whether it is at home or at work, we have all been through numerous changes. Some planned, some unexpected. Some exciting, some scary. But no matter the circumstances, I bet it was hard at the time you were going through it. That’s because change is takes a lot of energy but it is necessary to evolve and grow.
I recently joined GoCoach’s panel of change experts to discuss some advice, learnings and experiences to best lead a team through change. The three biggest themes were Communicate, Collaborate, Execute.
- I realize, of course, that there may be some sensitivity to full transparency, you can’t always share everything. However, the rule of thumb is that you cannot over-communicate when it comes to change. Even if the answer is “we don’t know yet”, that’s better than avoiding a topic (people will always fill in the gaps with the worst possible scenarios).
- Partner with people around you, you can’t do this alone. Whether it is working with other leaders in the organization, leveraging change champions that can help rally the troops, or talking to your HR partners across the organization about the needs of their specific groups, do not try to lead through change in a silo!
- Put together a plan. Think through who is going to tell what to whom and when. Determine milestones to recognize wins along the way (including mini-milestones). Determine a feedback loop to give the team a channel to share their questions and concerns. Map as much out as possible before you start communicating.
The most experienced change leaders will tell you: You aren’t going to get it all right. You can plan every talking point, identify all the benefits and risks, celebrate milestones and still have a reaction you weren’t expecting. When that happens, take a step back, see what didn’t resonate and adjust. Be honest with the team that you heard concerns and you want to try to explain it in a different way, or share more details that might have been missed the first time. Don’t dig your heels in or hide from the feedback. Listen to the feedback, show vulnerability and figure out how to move forward to help people adapt & accept the change better.
For more tips and stories about how myself and others have led teams through change, check out GoCoach’s webinar, Nailing Change Management, How to Drive Change Like a Leader. What are some times you have seen change initiatives be successful? What are you biggest learnings from when it didn’t go well? Jump over to Let’s Connect if you want to chat directly or if I can help you prepare for an upcoming change in anyway!