The next time you hear a motivational speaker intone, “People have to want to change,” head for the door. Such nonsense stymies the best managers.
In truth, change is typically imposed on people. They don’t like it, and they enter it kicking and screaming.
Employees will rarely embrace change just because you command them to do so. But you can induce them to accept disruptive reforms rather than erect walls of resistance.
Many managers fall into the trap of championing change wholeheartedly. But if you parrot the CEO’s talking points without making an effort to understand employees’ concerns, you’ll sound like a politician trying to win over a disbelieving audience of cynical voters.
Beware of endorsing organizational upheaval with an attitude of, “I’m going to make everyone see the light.” Instead, show that you understand the comfortable aspects of the status quo—and promise employees that you’ll preserve what you can.
It’s normal for workers to disapprove of change if it shatters their routines and forces them to learn unfamiliar skills. Acknowledge what they may lose while explaining what more they can gain (better working conditions, expanded opportunities, etc.)
Implement change in well-defined increments.
While quick, massive upheavals are sometimes necessary in a crisis, the likelihood of prolonged resistance plummets when you move gradually and communicate clearly every step of the way.
Rather than tell everyone how they must comply with change initiatives, present your vision and then give people leeway in deciding how to follow through. The more freedom you give them in the execution stage, the more likely they will buy into the change.