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The Champion Forum Podcast

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TCF014: Leading Through Change Part 1

Thank you for listening to the Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! No organization will survive without changing and adapting over time. However, poorly navigating change can have equally disastrous results.

In this episode, Jeff discusses the first three steps toward effectively leading employees through a change. You will learn practical steps and practices that will help you make better choices from designing the change through implementing the change. Following these steps will help you not only manage the change but also create a culture of change where employees are able to get on board with change because they understand that it is necessary and healthy.

Leading Through Change

  • To be successful, you must be able to adapt to change.

  • Managing change will help ease any transitions you may be faced with inside your organization.

  • Part of managing change is helping employees understand, commit to, accept, and embrace changes in their environment.

  • Leaders need to talk about the benefits of change before it happens

  • One of the first things I would recommend any leader to do is to constantly be talking about the benefits of change.

  • Leaders are responsible for creating an environment where change is viewed as healthy and necessary.

  • It is one thing to get everyone to like change and it is another to get your team to embrace change.

Step 1: Have a solid plan of execution.

  • Know what the change is, when it will be implemented, who will be affected, and why the change had to be made. Identify any key milestones in the change process that people would need to be aware of.

  • Prepare for the change AND leading people through the change

  • Know if the change is coming from inspiration or desperation. Change coming from desperation can often create the need to move quickly to avoid pain or loss and at times is not well thought out due to the need for speed.

  • Answer these questions to ensure that you are fully prepared:

    • Who in your organization will be the champion for the change initiative and why?

      • This person should be trusted and well respected in the organization.

      • They must 1) be a great communicator, 2) have a vast knowledge of the problem, and 3) know the plan of attack.

  • Who will resist the most?

    • Resistors can negatively affect other people’s view of the change.

    • You must address and eliminate their negativity early on.

  • What is the best way to communicate the change to the organization?

    • Choose the medium (email, letter home, text, personal call, meeting, etc.)

    • The more detail you can provide, the less anxiety your staff will experience, and the fewer questions you will have to answer.

    • A great presentation will often minimize objections.

Q: Do you have a definitive process for implementing a change? What should you include in that decision-making process? How have you been informed about a change in the past? What medium of communication was the most helpful to you? What impact do you think the type of change has on the way that it should be communicated?

Step 2 – When possible, involve the people who will be affected by the change in both planning and implementing the change

  • This will not always be possible in situations such as leadership turnover, acquisitions, or legal proceedings.

  • When you invite others to weigh in on the plan, you will gain their cooperation, and their input may give you an even better idea for the change.

Q: Describe a time when you were involved with the decision-making process. How did you feel? How did it affect your understanding and willingness to embrace the change? What holds you back from involving employees in the decision-making process? How can you overcome these fears?

Step 3 – Share the information regarding the change with the largest audience possible.

  • To fully commit to change, employees need to understand:

    • Why change is being made

    • What is expected

    • How the change will promote the overall vision

  • Make sure that

  • If people lack the necessary information, you run a very high risk of resistance, especially if the team feels like the change is a threat to their stability.

Q: Have you ever had a resistor in the past when you implemented a change? How would you describe their concerns? What could you or your organization have done differently to deal with their resistance?

Application Activities

  1. Think about a change that you are working on in your organization. Consider the who, what, when, and why of the change. If you haven’t already, set aside a time to meet with your team to discuss those questions.

  2. Evaluate who makes decisions in your organization. Do you made decisions alone? Do you involve key leaders? Do you involve the employees who will be affected by the change? Remember that your employees can see certain problems more clearly because of their position. Commit to involving at least one of your employees in your decision-making process. Develop a list of qualities you are looking for in this person so that you have a way to ensure you are letting the right person into this critical process.

  3. What is your personal perspective on change? How have you modeled a healthy attitude toward change in your professional or personal life? Write down some of your own personal feelings toward change. Are you nervous or apprehensive? Are you almost overly eager to embrace change? Talk to a mentor or leader to help identify ways that you can deal with your own feelings toward change so that you can help your employees see that change is necessary and healthy?

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