Change is uncomfortable.
Some people like this feeling while most would prefer to keep doing things the way they always have done.
We need to find ways to become comfortable, with the discomfort of change.
In my latest book, Change Up, I lay out the Five Keys for Leading Change to give leaders a simple diagnostic tool to assess individual and group readiness for implementing the change.
Be Accountable. When you accept accountability for a change, you chart a course and model new behaviors. You communicate, coach, and provide feedback to get people to work in a new way; and you build accountability throughout the organization, so that leaders and employees are responsible for results.
Gain Agreement & Alignment. Because of different perspectives, leadership teams can struggle to gain consensus about what to do and how to implement a change effort. With agreement, the leadership team has a shared view of the future. Agreement is about “what” you want to do and “why” it is important.
An agreement isn’t sufficient by itself. For instance, I can agree that changes are necessary but may have no interest in changing my behavior. Alignment helps people to define “how” the changes will be carried out through individual actions. When people are left to figure it out for themselves, implementation can be sporadic and disjointed, potentially adding costs to the initiative and sometimes even leading to failure to meet the desired results. Therefore, it’s essential to gain alignment for how the changes will be carried out.
Build Acceptance. During times of change, people can become paralyzed or resistant to the very changes that can help both them and the business thrive. People process changes differently—mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Too often, I see leaders announce a change and expect that everyone will get onboard. One communication is usually not enough. You can help by sharing what’s going to happen and why it’s important to act now. Provide a safe place for people to talk about their concerns as well as discuss how they can engage in new actions without feeling vulnerable. When people are given the opportunity to understand and process the information, they can determine how to take steps to participate in the effort.
Take Positi Action. New behaviors often feel awkward. Competing priorities can get in the way. You can help people take the right actions by focusing them on the right priorities and reinforcing new behaviors. This requires you to understand what people need to start doing differently and what they no longer need to do. This may require new approaches to getting the work done.
Accelerate the Change Process. If you want to get results and fast, then pay attention to your most valuable asset – people. People drive change. When you actively engage with people, they can accelerate results through consistent actions. Look for and remove obstacles that can impede progress and provide support and feedback as people work in a new way.
The Five Keys help you assess whether you are building engagement, accountability, and productivity for the change effort. The Keys will serve as a quick reference, a leadership lens, for ensuring that your people will be ready, willing, and able to execute the change. Use these keys throughout the implementation of an initiative, to help you understand what’s working—and what’s off track
To bringing your best to leading in these changing times.