Sometimes it’s necessary for a company to change and head in a new direction. Perhaps it’s because the current direction isn’t working or because the market is changing.
In these situations, you’d love to have your team be enthusiastic cheerleaders for the new ideas. Of course, that’s easier said than done.
The truth is that the people often most resistant to change are the very people working in the company.
And that makes sense. When the company goes in a new direction, that means a lot of disruption. At best, they’re going to experience turmoil and uncertainty. At worst, they’re made redundant.
Who would be looking forward to any of that? For that reason, when you decide to head in a new direction, don’t assume that your team will just nod and go along with it.
Instead, question yourself, and prepare them.
1. Start by Explaining Everything
Yes, it’s a lot of work. But if you don’t explain everything in detail, then your team is going to fill in the gaps.
And as anybody that’s ever watched a horror movie knows, the monsters that we imagine in our head are a heck of a lot scarier than whatever they show on the screen.
Avoid miscommunication and misunderstanding by sitting your team down and giving them an opportunity to ask questions. Then, give them a few days and sit them down again.
People will often only realize they didn’t ask something after that initial meeting when they’ve processed the information. So make sure they’ve got that second opportunity.
2. Explain it on an Individual Basis
Don’t just focus on the broad strokes, either. Make sure that you explain to each person individually what the change will mean for them.
They might not ask, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tell them.
If nobody in your team is too severely or negatively affected, then it’s fine to try and explain all these things when everybody is together.
The moment one of your team members might be negatively impacted, however, it is time to do so privately.
In that case, don’t feel like you can explain a person’s situation in front of others while you explain the situation to the people badly affected privately. When you do that, everybody will know what time it is.
3. Sell it to Them
If you want to sell something to somebody, you don’t just want to make sure you know how to sell the good parts.
You also want to make sure that you’ve considered the downsides of the change.
The best way to handle this is to make two columns and brainstorm all the pros and cons of the change. You might want to get somebody else involved (either internal or external) to get another perspective.
Try seeing things from the perspective of the individual members and formulating ideas from their perspective. This will make it far more likely you’ll actually tackle their arguments before they’ve come up with them.
4. Broadcast Success and Collaborate
If the change is actually good for your company, some people will start to sense this earlier than others. Perhaps they’ll see positive results or find that their situation has become better. You should rope these people into your sale.
Show others how much these people are benefiting and how happy they are with the changes that you’ve implemented. Even better, get them to sell it themselves.
Ask them to give a short presentation or talk at the next meeting about how they’ve experienced the change.
This will make it seem like it’s not just you who thinks this is a good idea, but also others.
From there, you’ll start building momentum until, eventually, everybody will be on board.
5. Last Words
Getting your team on board will take time, so don’t try to sprint a marathon.
Yes, it’s important that you have a good initial push to generate as much goodwill as possible. But don’t push people into being optimistic and positive if they’re not ready yet.
Revisit the topic regularly while roping in those that have already decided it’s a good idea.
This way, you can wear down the resisters, much like water and weather will wear down the greatest rock.
How Do You Prepare Your Team for a Company Change?
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