Saturday, October 25, 2008

The fear of “CHANGE”: Managing change in the workplace

The three influential factors of change are (1) Political/ Government, (2) Cultural and (3) Competitive/ Economic. In your business environment, are you the one creating change or is change being brought upon you? How do you deal with these types of changes? Do you shut the door and hide from it or do you welcome that change? Let’s take a look at why people fear change and address ways to become a change agent.

Why do people fear change?

1. Change causes you to do or act differently.
2. It is the unknown.
3. “Poor communication, poor communication and poor communication”.

The above three are some key roadblocks when implementing change. What can you do to employ a program that will make people committed and understand the need for change?

Establish a clear communication program. During the change process, you need to OVER communicate and communicate often. Have a communication person or team that will be responsible for creating and maintaining the communications. They would focus on why this change needs to take place, who is impacted by the change, how they are impacted, and when the change is taking place. Creating a communication program (email updates, newsletters, updates at staff meetings) is going to be a vital part of acceptance. Stay current with your communications and avoid surprises. Most importantly, stay factual and be careful not to erode trust.

Create a support system (Change Management team). Getting the right people involved with the change is key. Have someone with change management or organizational development experience to (typically your HR department) help navigate you through the various steps in your changing environment. Depending on the degree of the change, you may want to contract someone from outside the organization to support in the change process.

Offer your employees resources or reference tools such as Johnson, M.D., Spencer and Ken Blanchard. Who Moved My Cheese. 1998.

Avoid changing too much at one time. People tend to fear change when too much is being changed at one time. If the change is going to be major, try to break it into manageable pieces or phases for those to embrace this new environment.

Involve the people that are affected by the change early. When change takes places, it tends to happen with a top-down approach. The persons impacted by the change are the last to know and when its communicated to them, they are resistant. Get their buy-in early as well as making them a part of the change management team if appropriate.

Think of change as a positive and not a negative. Change allows you to shift your behaviors:

Present state - Future state - Desired outcome
Small contracts - Large contracts - Increased revenue stream
Local provider - International provider - Global presence

In your business environment, it is important that you actively manage through change and the impact it may bring. Some types of change you have no control over and others you do. Either way, you need to establish a communication program and make certain you over communicate to the persons impacted by the change.

“Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights.” -Pauline R. Kezer


Reggie Waller is president of RWJ Consulting Group, LLC, which provides business and personal coaching, consulting and training services to individuals and businesses. For additional information call 267-254-6800 or visit
RWJ Consulting Group

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