Going through any big change can be hard. Being the leader of a change is harder. We keep things a certain way because that’s how we like them, and convincing people to do things differently than how they’re used to is tricky business. We’re talking about a world where our local Starbucks running out of our favorite flavor of coffee elicits a look of flabbergast and a panicked “What?!“.
However, without change there is no growth, and thanks to technology, the world is changing and moving faster than ever. Organizations who don’t improve their business processes in order to adapt will be left behind. Here’s a few tips on not only bringing change to the office without getting yourself uninvited to happy hour, but making that change successful and opening the door for easier improvements in the future.
1. Prepare yourself for preparing others
Before you go spreading the good news of whatever it is you’re doing, it’s important to have a plan of action for communicating this change in the workplace. People won’t just take your word for it – they need a reason to believe you. Be able to produce thorough research and meaningful numbers to back up your claims and show how this new frontier will be filled with waterfalls and greenery, not new giants to battle. If you can’t effectively articulate your reasoning, no one will listen.
2. Get everyone on board
Knowing what you’re going to say is only half the battle. Next, you have to sell it. One key to doing this is taking the focus off of what’s going to change, and instead put it on what’s going to be better and what’s going to remain the same. For example, in the case of business process automation, emphasize the aspects of their job that will be made easier. Will they need to do substantially less data entry? Will they have faster access to information? Tell them that, and explain why and how you know. The goal here is to replace trepidation with excitement and give people something familiar to anchor onto as they’re adapting to change in the workplace.
3. Shout your success from the mountaintops
Was your project successful? Is it saving time? Is it cutting costs? Wonderful! Break out the champagne and party hats and TELL. EVERYONE. It’s important for people to know your efforts made a positive difference, and not just for gloating purposes. Especially if this is a small-scale change that could be rolled out to other departments or processes, when people get wind of previous success, they’re much quicker to hop on board next time around.
Implementing change in the workplace can be a bit of a challenge, but it’s made easier with attention to these guidelines. Remember to empathize with others and consider what their main concerns might be, and let that guide your approach to communication.
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