Usually, I am called in when organizations have hit a plateau and are feeling a bit stuck. Often, these are successful businesses that want to continue the upward trajectory. They just are not sure how to keep the momentum going. This almost always means they are stuck…and a change is going to have to happen. This typically involves clarifying a common vision, restructuring an organization to streamline and establish accountabilities, as well as shifting out of bad habits and creating new ones. In other words, change. For some reason, a lot of people fear change, which I believe is mostly due to something being different and unfamiliar – the fear of the unknown.
As we work through the process together, clarifying and solidifying things, most of the team thrives and embraces the clarity; others become fidgety and are not fans of the accountability component. These people are comfortable with how things have been and do not want to adjust to a clearer direction, expectations, and accountabilities. How senior leaders approach change dramatically impacts all these areas.
Rarely do these transitions happen without a few bumps in the road. As the clarity and accountability becomes more apparent, it is critical that the leadership team is 100% in alignment and comfortable with the direction. Period. I strive to encourage leadership teams to embrace an attitude that says to their team in words, attitude, and demeanor, “This is going to be fantastic. It may not be perfect, but we will figure it out. It will make things easier and more productive. And, we will have more fun.” An analogy I use here is when a toddler walks, trips, and falls down, they often look to the adult to see their reaction. If the adult shows fear and runs to the rescue, the child might become afraid and cry. The adult learns that when a toddler falls, they should smile at the child to assure them that they will be okay. This initial shock happens because the trip was unexpected and new for the toddler. They are not sure how to deal with it.
Whether we are talking about toddlers or managers, how we manage change is crucial. As managers, if we are nervous, it is not productive to let our team see it. It is productive, however, to clearly communicate to our teams about where we are going and to assure them that everything will be okay.
Are you reluctant to embrace change within your organization? Do you fear the unfamiliar? You are not alone! Reach out to us today to learn more about the upside of change.