Responding to Change

batch008-080I have seen so many different responses to change over the years.

There is the one that says, “Oh, goody, change!”
This usually comes from the one who is sure that the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.  Often they get over to that other side, and the grass now looks greener where they had been, on the other side of the fence. They are seeing change as a solution to problems, like the guy, driving his car, who is lost so he turns and goes the other way without stopping to ask for directions.  Sometimes he gets lucky and it works out.  Often he just stumbles around trying to find his way.

Change is a tool that should be used wisely and with great care. If you don’t have a good ‘why’ to make the change, don’t make it.

Then there is “Oh, no, not change again!”
This usually comes from the person who is very settled and happy in what they are doing, or in what is going on around them.  They are not looking for adventure or progress, they just want to have things stay just the way they are even if they are no longer working well.  “Just leave me alone and let me do my job” is their battle cry.  This person will resist change by arguing against it, or by trying to keep their area unchanged.

Move slowly and carefully with this person.  They may be a valued member of the team and you may want them to stay with you, so take the time to make sure they know ‘why’ the change is necessary. Listen and respond to their objections.

There is a third response, “Change!  I’ll just wait and see!”
Some leaders like these people because they are not pushing or resisting the change.  But, maybe the reason they are waiting is because they have seen too many changes that were not necessary and just created a lot of problems.  Perhaps they were not well thought out, or planned.  So, this person just pulls back and watches, sometimes offering a running commentary of mistakes and errors along the way.  They become observers instead of participants.

Try to involve them in the process, the planning and the actual change.  Let them help define the ‘why’ for the change.  If fact, they may be one of the best to communicate with others.

The fourth response, “Change, yes, it will make us more effective and efficient!”
If you don’t have a good reason that you can explain and defend, don’t make the change.  The two words used above should be a part of your reasoning.  Change should be used to improve the effectiveness and/or the efficiency of your organization.  Prove it by listing what the change will do.  Be open and transparent when you are not sure.

Help the people see change as a solution to a known problem and they will be more tolerant and much quicker to help you through it.

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