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Waves of Change

April 16, 2014

Waves of Change

Everywhere we turn, the touting of NEW leadership,  FASTER systems, BETTER process, ESSENTIAL features, SWITCHING priorities and REVISED expectations is commonplace.  Chances are that you have either communicated or received a message along the lines of the following…

  • “The things that made us successful today, are not the same as those that will keep us successful.”
  • “The only constant is change.”
  • “If you don’t change, you’re going to be left behind.”

Absolutely, these are largely true.  Like many messages of change, they capture the intellect and urgency while missing the human emotion/connection.  Responses to change are affected by many variables including past experience, current degree of pain and the direction of the wind.  Unfortunately, even when intended for the better, common reactions can be plagued by senses of loss and fear.  When these reactions are not addressed adequately, related thoughts and feelings can lead to negativity, resistance and/or complacency.

As leaders, setting the tone for change takes knowledge, forethought, planning and patience (yes, patience).  Since you are setting the vision, you will be ahead of the rest.  Even with urgent initiatives, taking the time to allow others to catch up is imperative.  Slowing down initially will lay the groundwork to speed up later because more people will be on board and moving in the forward direction.

Forward Moving Tips for Leaders:

1.  Bridge the intellect-emotion gap. Familiarize yourself with the stages of change and create communications and action plans that allows team members to absorb, process and contribute to the transition.

2.  Accept/Ask questions and listen for understanding.  Not only will this provide valuable information related to concerns and needs, it will yield helpful ideas for implementation.

3.  Integrate ideas that make sense.  This will help build engagement in the change and trust in you.

4.  Support team members through the transition.  Model and teach the desired qualities, instead of telling, so they are continuously more prepared for the next wave of change.

5.  Acknowledge advances in thoughts and behavior.  Recognizing growth is an impactful way to show you are paying attention while promoting favorable characteristics.

As team members, even in the absence of the above, it’s in your best interest to transition to a more healthy attitude regarding change.

Forward Moving Tips for Team Members:

1.  Switch up your terminology.  Instead of internalizing new initiatives as change…think of them as an evolution.  Evolution is a learning, adjusting and adapting process that builds on your existing knowledge and experiences.

2.  Determine the benefit(s) of the evolution (yes, there are some!).  Although it can be difficult to look past the immediate frustrations, looking to the medium and long term can ease some of the current stress.

3.  Seek out someone to support you.  This person should be able to provide a safe place for you to express your thoughts and feelings.  They should also be able to move you through the challenging aspects without minimizing what you are going through and without letting you spend a disproportionate time venting.

4.  Be part of the solution.  Using the momentum generated by tips 1-3, get involved with the transition.  The earlier you get involved, the more information you will be able to access.  Now, instead of complaining about what doesn’t work, you can have a hand in insuring certain functionality/features are included.  Can you say Job Satisfaction!

5.  Propose and implement improvements.  Become a leader of change by proactively looking for product, process and system upgrades that will contribute to current or future business growth.

What will you do to improve your approach to change?  (Comment Below)

© Viage Partners 2014. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Viage Partners with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


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