Change can prove threatening to employees. They might view the near future as an unwelcome disruption to their familiar routine.
To pry open their minds, instruct your team to pretend the future has already occurred. Say, “It’s one year from now. The change is well under way. It’s failing. What went wrong?”
By conducting a pre-mortem, you can avoid a post-mortem later. As employees imagine what aspects of the change campaign might backfire, you gain an edge in preventing such adverse outcomes.
When planning change initiatives, involve all levels of staff. Junior colleagues may bring experience or insights that your senior team lacks, especially if they’re closer to customers or more attuned to the latest trends.
Stoke everyone’s excitement for change. Challenge each employee to write a brief answer to the question, “What exactly is this change about?” or “What problem(s) will this change solve?”
Ideally, their responses will show that they are thinking about the repercussions of the change and understand its purpose. But if their answers are too vague or unfocused, reinforce key themes.
In staff meetings, don’t just explain the change. A better strategy is to spend:
- One-third of the meeting presenting your rationale for the change
- One-third taking questions from employees
- One-third of the time assignments.
This way, you increase the odds everyone will buy into the change or at least understand what’s at stake and what role they’ll play going forward.
— Adapted from “11 simple tips for having great meetings from some of the world’s most productive people,” Camille Sweeney and Josh Gosfield, www.fastcompany.com.