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Lead a successful change

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in Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

Most change efforts—70% in fact—fail, usually because of botched communication. To navigate a change successfully, you need your employees on board, so follow this advice:

Be trustworthy from the get-go. People have to believe you, so don’t hide or hoard information from them. Be honest about circumstances, especially when things look bleak, and respond to questions and concerns with accurate information. People will not believe a change is worthwhile if they can’t trust you or they believe you have a hidden agenda.

Time it right. Studies have shown that people are more open to change at the beginning of a year, quarter, month or even week than at the end. Why? When you discuss changes at the end of something, it is backward-looking and people can see it as criticism or corrective. However, at the beginning of a period, it’s forward-thinking, and people are more likely to see it as both progress and doable.  

Remind people that change isn’t all bad. Revisit a change you experienced together and talk about the positive outcomes. Together, recall how everyone felt early on. Discuss the roadblocks you faced, and what you did to overcome challenges. Then describe how everyone felt afterward. Doing so serves as a reminder that the team can manage change effectively.

Make it about “us,” not “you.” If you want people to commit to the change, prove that you will be a part of the change. Tell them how you will participate and the role you will play. Work alongside them, and ask for and use their advice. They’ll feel less anxious about the change when you show you are there for them.  

— Adapted from “4 Ways Leaders ‘Pre-suade’ Others To Follow Them Through Difficult Change,” Ron Carucci, Forbes, www.forbes.com.

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