To understand how to lead change effectively we need to understand some of the forces at work which can slow it down.
Change Takes People Out of Their 'Comfort Zones'
The cat in the picture has obviously found a favorite place where it feels warm and happy. People, too, find comfort zones in which they feel warm, happy and secure. In our comfort zones we know the drill and have the skills to complete the work. We don't have to think too much about it and it's fairly predictable and safe.
Change requires us to move from comfort and certainty to possible initial discomfort and unpredictability. The de-stabilization that change brings can create stress and uncertainty.
Change Takes Effort
In the past few weeks, I have been working through my business plan and with the help of a friend, making some changes to the way that I work and develop new business opportunities. It's exciting but, at the same time, it is taking a lot of effort.
As this old dog learns new tricks it is a stretching experience which requires a lot of mental and emotional effort. Without effort, changes made to anything won't be sustainable. "No pain, no gain."
People Make Changes at Different Speeds
Some people are really into 'change' and require a constant moving environment so that they don't get bored. On the other end of the spectrum are those personalities with the 'sure and steady' approach. As a team leader, it is important to work with people with different personalities to see the whole team cross over the line.
Although those who are reluctant to change and make the changes slowly can be frustrating to the leader, once they have been guided through the process they may become the leader's greatest asset.
Change Can Bring Back Some Bad Memories
If you are giving the big "change is great" spiel to the team, don't be surprised that some might be a little skeptical as they have heard it before from a series of leaders who all gave the speech, moved everything around and yet achieved very little. As a leader, be ready with good answers for the "That won't work", "We have tried that before" and "Here we go again" comments that might come your way.
Some People Will Oppose Anything That a Leader Puts Forward
Some people are quite intransigent and have some 'chip on their shoulder' about those in leadership. As far as they are concerned, no matter who the leader or what the plan, the answer is no! The leader should try to understand this person and be careful not to let them torpedo the change process. If the team is moving into change, they have to move with the team or chose the other option: to leave and work somewhere else and end up saying No to the their new leaders.
What change management issues are you struggling with at the moment?
What can you do to keep things moving along smoothly?