5 tips to help your teams during changes.

La traduction française est disponible ici.

If we consider current business life, we must admit that there is an imbalance between the time and money invested in process and those invested in people, to achieve more performance, or to implement changes.  And to make it clear: companies invest much more in process than in people. déséquilibreAnd what does Gartner say?  That only 20% of all the projects deliver what was expected.  One out of five! This means that in 80% of the cases, you miss your target.

I could observe the consequences of investing mostly in process from different point of views in my career: as a people manager, I have been the ‘receiver’ of a new business model that was decided ‘above my head’, and implemented in my department. As a trainer, I could have discussions with people who were directly impacted by such large changes.   And as a coach, I regularly hear, feel and see the feelings that team members or managers have about this.

And what do I see?

We spend a lot of time fine-tuning the very last process that people will have to implement, forgetting that those processes will anyway change once in the ocean of real business life. And that we consider that ‘people will follow’.  No, they won’t!  They have gone through so many changes, from A to B, then back to A, then B again, without any consideration for their needs, their experience and who they are, that they are fed up!

In function of your position, it might be that you cannot influence the decisions taken.  But this does not mean you can’t do anything !   Hhere are some tips to help you to help your team members.

  1. Understand how people deal with change.Transition Curve

Plenty of books have been written around the subject, and the internet is full of information around this item.  You might also attend a training around this topic.  It is really crucial that you understand the process, so that you can easily identify where your team member is in the process, to help him/her go through

  1. Manage your own frustration.

At some stages during the process, you have to listen a lot.  Really a lot.  And for some of us, just listening might be experienced as losing your time.  Real active listening, during a change process, is absolutely not a waste of time!  And remember that, anyway, if your colleagues do not tell you their story, they will tell someone else, and then you might lose interesting information

  1. Listen really …savoir ecouter activement

In the resistance phase, people … resist.  This means they bring arguments against the change, complementary questions, etc.  And you know what?  It might happen that they have interesting ideas.  Things you have not seen, another point of view, or a risk or a problem you had not expected.  By not listening to them, you can miss those important points, and put the change in danger

  1. Be ready to adapt your plans.

As a consequence of previous point, you might need to adapt.  The most important is to keep the philosophy and the target of your change, but we all know that several roads lead to Roma … So be flexible!

  1. Acknowledge what they will lose.

In every change, you (perhaps) win and (certainly) lose things.

Do not believe that if you don’t talk about what they lose, this will be easier.  This is just the opposite.

By acknowledging what people lose, by not trying to convince them immediately how ideal the future situation will be, you will gain their trust.  They will respect you, and be more open to discuss also what they will win. And next time, they will be more available to discuss the gains of the future situation.

What about you ?  Tell us your good or bad experiences, whether as a team member, change agent, people manager, etc. 

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