How do you introduce change? Introducing the changes you are about to make is the launching point to successful change. The introduction could also trigger resistance to change. Tina has a story that will help illustrate why you might want to change how you introduce introduce change:
One of the best bosses I ever had told me, “It’s hard to push rope.” I was updating him on a project that I was leading. It was a major change in the prepress departments across the company, and almost no one was supporting the changes. I was working night and day for months trying to implement a new system that our company spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on. I tried to drag people along, I pleaded with them, and I ended up just doing a lot of the work myself.
This was before I earned my change management certification and before I had a lot of experience in leading change according to proven change models. I was stuck, “trying to push rope.” And my boss called me out on that. I was left to figure out what I needed to do to turn it around or scrap the whole deal before we lost more time and money on the investments.
That little crisis allowed me to create a new way of leading and I got the project back on track. When I look back, I would have avoided the pain of trying to push rope if I introduced the changes differently. Here is where my problems were rooted:
I was way ahead of the rest of the project team. I told them all about how and when we were changing before they had a chance to realize if we needed to change or why. The team was still in the dark while I was getting started and rolling out the changes.
Here is what I could have done better:
I could have introduced the project by creating a compelling case for the change. In fact, I could have provided information in just the right way—so the team could figure out what needed to change and why in their own hearts and minds. At that point, they would be asking me, “How are we going to make this change happen? What can I do to help?” When you hear those questions, you know that you can move to the planning phase of change.
Introducing changes in the workplace is something that requires planning, forethought, and insight about what resistance factors may already exist. My research shows that leaders who skip or speed through getting people out of the dark risk failure. Those who plan and do some pre-work to help set the stage for change enjoy higher success rates and much less resistance.
When leaders feel tempted to rush into action they introduce plans and make assignments to get things started while nobody else seems to see or believe in an urgent need to do anything differently.
If you want more information about how to introduce change in the workplace, and how to accomplish lasting changes, contact us at Change Management | Communications Center, LLC. We enjoy helping leaders unleash the power of their team to get changes done on time and within budget.