Are You a Change Agent? Beware of This Potential Trap
You've heard the saying that the only thing that is constant is change. Our world is moving and changing every day at a mind-boggling pace, and it is crucial for your organization to be able to make adjustments that bring continued productivity and growth. But if not managed properly, creating vast change throughout the organization can leave you trapped, unable to attain your goals.
In the midst of revising org charts and holding strategic meetings, there a key component that you must be aware of that is critical to the success of your plans. In fact, as a change agent, ignoring this key component can become a booby trap that can set your plans back in a major way.
That key component is...your people.
As the change agent, it can sometimes become easy to get caught up with all the plans and procedures that need to be implemented. Plans may look great on paper, but it is important to take the time to ensure that your people remain on board with you through the process. If not, you may realize that although you did cross the finish line, you may have lost some of your key people along the way.
As you navigate through the maze of change throughout your organization, here are a few things that you can do to help your key people adapt to the changes that are happening, and to stay plugged in throughout the process:
1. Know exactly where you are going, and communicate the vision to your people.
Change can bring along with it a great deal of uncertainty. As the leader, it is critical that you be very clear about where you as a team are going, and how you plan to get there. Being clear about your mission and vision demonstrates that you have a strong direction, and that the changes being made will ultimately result in a positive outcome. This can go a long way in dispelling fears, and has the power to establish a solid foundation in the midst of change.
2. Share how each person fits into the overall plan.
When change is implemented, roles and responsibilities often need to be realigned. When responsibilities are taken from one person and moved to another, this can create a myriad of emotions, creating uncertainty and fear. Take the time to sit down with each person on an individual basis, to reassure them that their contribution matters. Your key people need to be assured that they will still have opportunities for growth, and they will still be able to utilize their abilities once the changes have taken place. Bottom line; they need to hear from you that you need them even more, not less.
3. Create an environment for open and honest conversation.
Sit down with your people - again, on an individual basis - and ask them how they feel about the changes that are being made. Make sure that you do more listening than talking, and allow them to freely express any fears or doubts they may have. By inviting honest input and expression, you will probably discover underlying issues that you didn't even know existed. By providing new solutions to their problems and giving them reassurance, potential problems can be headed off at the pass.
Being a change agent can be an exciting and fulfilling assignment. Following these simple tips can make the journey trap-free, and ensure that your people remain with you, to help celebrate your success!