Tag: Change

How to Lead Your Team Through Change

How to Lead Your Team Through Change

Every change in the team begins with a leadership decision. Making the decision to institute changes is not always easy. Being prepared, planning well, and being surrounded by a good team will make that decision a lot easier.

Related: Leadership Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Preparing and Planning for Change in Your Team

Begin by putting yourself in a positive frame of mind. You are likely to experience higher than normal levels of stress and knowing this beforehand will give you the ability to be prepared mentally and you will be the anchor person and the foundation, and with your steady hand will guide your team through the stressful events. Be a reassuring and active force throughout the whole process.

It is impossible to prepare for every contingency, but planning for the known is a must. Add time or extra room in the schedule for the unknowns.When you encounter an unexpected event, your schedule should not off by much if you have built in some leeway. It will provide that buffer that gives you and your team the ability to deal with the unknowns and keep rolling with the change process.

Delegating to Other Team Members

Surround yourself with people in the team that you can delegate to and be confident in their abilities and skills. Be precise and specific with your directions as when the change process begins you will be depending on these individuals and their talents. Communicating and providing feedback are the keys to successful delegation; make sure your team understands this. If communication fails or there is not accurate feedback the chances of a success are lessened.

An issue that sometimes arises when delegating is micro-managing. Keep an eye out to not micro-manage as you can quicklylose track of events and it will take time away from your main duties. Delegating is a skill that takes time as you must first learn the strengths and weakness of your team and know what tasks you can and cannot hand out. It may not be possible to always delegate, but when it can, it will provide a great resource.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open in the Team

Always be available during the change process. Before the change prepare your friends and family that you may not be available for social events. Reassure your team that you are there for them and you are here to provide them with the necessary resources to lead them through the change. Stress to them that you are available and focused on keeping the communications lines open.

Always be aware of rumors, they will happen before, during and after the change. Do not ignore any rumor, put out honest and clear communication as soon as possible. Reassure your team that if they hear a rumor to seek out more information from a reliable source. Remind them that spreading rumors helps no one and will cause more harm than good.

Related: Communication Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Coping with Push-back from the Team

Not everyone in the team will agree on the change. Keep in mind that these types of feelings are normal as people generally do not enjoy change and are sometimes made nervous by it. You will likely encounter push-back and resistance by some team members.

Provide facts and data to show why the change is happening and reassure them the need and benefits of the change. These types of individuals are best suited to be educated bout the change with information. If you are encountering an extreme case of push-back in your team, provide them with some choices that still fall within the spectrum of the intended change. They should then feel more involved in the process and it will help alleviate the negative mindset they may be experiencing.

Help Your Team Deal With Change by Identifying the WIFM

Help Your Team Deal With Change by Identifying the WIFM

For change to be successful, the team members must desire to support and participate in the change. Simply building awareness does not generate desire. Showing the team what is in it for them will produce a great starting point and help generate support. The beginning of the change process is very important and showing the affected parties how the change will improve their environment will initiate the process on the right foot.

What’s in it for Me?

In order to answer the question “What’s in it for Me?”, or WIFM, change management leadership must create energy and engagement around the change. This builds momentum, and instills support at all levels of the organization. Factors that influence WIFM are:

  • The nature of the change
  • The organizational context for the change
  • A team member’s personal situation
  • What motivates the team member as an individual?

Building Support

Effective communications are essential for building support throughout the team.

Whoever communicates with the team members impacted by a change must have a clear understanding of the overall nature of the change, its reasons, and how it aligns with the vision for the team. He or she must understand the risks of not changing, the timing of the change, and what people will be most impacted by the change.

Related: Communication Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Communications options are many, including email, presentations, postings on the organization’s intranet, flyers and circulars, banners, online or phone conferences, and special social events.

Beforehand, communicators should identify and segment audience groups, craft messages appropriate for each audience, and determine the most effective packaging, timing, and methods for communicating.

  • Executive sponsorship
  • Coaching by managers and team leaders
  • Ready access to business information

 

Challenging the Process as a Team Leader

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“The manager accepts the status quo; the leader challenges it.” – Warren Bennis

Far too often, we cling to what is familiar, even if what we cling to is known to be inadequate. Most large groups are governed by the law of inertia: if it takes effort to change something, nothing will change. As a team leader, you must search out opportunities to change, grow, innovate, and improve.

There is no reward without risk however, so you must be willing to experiment, take risks, and learn from any mistakes. Ask questions, even if you fear the answers. Start with the question, “Why?” Why are things the way they are? Why do we do things the way we do?

Related: Leadership Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Think Outside the Box

A paradigm is an established model or structure. Sometimes they work quite well, but often they are inadequate or even counterproductive. Sometimes it is necessary to “think outside the box” and break the paradigm. Don’t be afraid to ask the question “Why?” Ask questions of your team members, employees, customers, former leaders. Ideas and answers can be found in the least likely places. Often the lowest ranking persons in an organization can tell you exactly what is wrong because they see it daily from their vantage points.

Developing Your Inner Innovator

Innovation is more than just an improvement on a process or procedure; it is a total redirection or restructuring based upon stated goals and research. While it can be helpful to adapt an outdated procedure or task to today’s standards, often the procedure itself is the problem, not the manner in which it is implemented. Innovators reverse engineer policies and procedures based on the new vision and team goals, working from the target backwards, rather than from the status quo looking forward.

To be sure, not all innovative strategies will be feasible or cost effective. Requiring an entirely new computerized network and infrastructure, for example, may cost hundreds of thousands of dollars and produce little improved efficiency over the old one. However, if you don’t start thinking “outside the box,” you will miss many valuable solutions that can and will work.

Note that changes should never be made simply for the sake of change. Change can be exciting, but it can also be unnerving and difficult for the team members. Constant change causes frustration. Moreover, if you seem to change too many things too often, you will lose respect, as your team members may feel you don’t really know what you are doing, so be sure to plan your innovations carefully. There should be solid evidence that a new way of doing things is likely to work before you invest money and everyone’s time.

Keep focused on the team goals and be willing to break the rules if they need to be broken. Just make sure they really need to be broken and you don’t break something that needs to keep working! With proper research and planning, you can dare to be bold!

Seeing Room for Improvement

A strong team vision does not lend itself to mediocrity. A drive to excellence always seeks improvement. If you accept 95% efficiency as a goal, the efficiency will inevitably slip to 90%. If that’s considered “good enough,” it will become hard to keep it above 85% and so on.

Team goals must not be unrealistic or unattainable, or the followers will simply give up trying altogether, becoming dispirited and demoralized in the process. If 95% of people fail to meet a standard, then that standard is likely too high and must be changed. On the other hand, the bar must not be set so low that little or no effort is required to meet it.

Based on your team’s  vision, set high goals that are attainable but with some degree of difficulty, and reward those team members who meet the goals. If a large number of the team is meeting the goal, raise the target. If only a very few are meeting it, lower it somewhat.

Investigate any potential bottlenecks that might be stifling progress and resolve them. Talk to your team members about possible solutions. The people who actually do the work are far more likely to be able to tell you why they are having difficulty accomplishing a task than their supervisors.

Related: Goal Setting Outcome Based Team Building Activities

Lobbying for Change

To lobby for change, you need to influence people and excite them to your vision. You may need to persuade a reluctant boss or fight a corporate culture that doesn’t understand what you are trying to do. In that case, you need to demonstrate why your requested change needs to occur.

Do your research, and always enter a meeting by being prepared. Study the situation and present all of your findings in a short report, preferably with simple charts or graphs. Give them something they can easily understand. Have the details ready in case you are asked a question, but don’t overload people with facts. Show as clearly as possible how your plan will effect positive change.

If you are lobbying your own team members, the same is true. You may want to revolutionize a cultural change. Perhaps you are a shop manager and people are unmotivated. You may need to bring about change slowly, rather than with one big dramatic gesture. On the other hand, you may need to shake things up in a big way. Whatever the situation, you can successfully lobby for change if you attack the problem with a plan, sound reasoning, and infectious enthusiasm!

 

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What Are You Waiting For?

Maya Angelou Quote

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” – Maya Angelou

Newton’s first law of motion states that an object remains at rest unless acted upon by a force. This is also the case in our lives. Unless some force is exerted, whether it is external or internal, things will remain the same.  If you are waiting for some external force to change your situation, it may never happen.

If you want to see positive change in your life, you are going to have to take the initiative and make things happen. Seize the moment and develop a plan of action. Decide what you want out of life and pursue that plan until something happens.

What if you do not accomplish those things you pursued? You will still be far better off in seeking after something than you would have been waiting for something to happen. By pursuing something you would have learned new information and obtained skills you could never have acquired by simply sitting and waiting for things to change.

 

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