You may have read or heard me speak about How to Lead Through C.H.A.N.G.E.; very similar but a bit different, I want to share the actual keys to implementing change… the change that needs to happen, must happen, the change you may not even agree with or like, and that your team and people will inevitably complain about! Please notice, in the title, I didn’t write The 6 Keys of Implementing Change Painlessly… I said “Successfully. The truth is, change can hurt, can be frustrating, and anxiety-producing at the minimum. However, leaders understand that change is inevitable, must be anticipated, and allows evolution to occur. Whether it’s a change in goals and direction of the organization, the programs and processes, a change in IT, a change in people or positions, merger and acquisition issues, a change in duties due to layoffs, or a change in the organization’s focus to protect jobs and revenue… Change has either just happened, is happening, or is about to! So, I’ve shared how to lead yourself and people through it… Now, how do you implement it?
In my Employee days, there were many times I was LED through change and times I was MANAGED through change… difference being; when I was led through change, those in leadership shared information, listened, followed-through with the change, helped take care of staff as throughout the transition, allowed tweaks to be made as much as possible and if possible, and maintained high standards and expectations. I’m not saying I was an angel throughout the process, but I went along and got along due to the great connection I had with our leaders!
On the other hand, I’ve been managed through change while having a poor connection with leadership; dare I say horrible… and needless to say, I was not happy, they weren’t happy, I was quickly seen as “A Problem”, and burnt-out of a job I thought I’d retire from within record time!
Lastly, I’ve been a business owner and several times since 2014 I’ve chosen to make BIG change to my brand, what I served, how I served my product, and who I served it to… going from only me, to multiple employees and interns, to having a Dreamleader Crew, to back to me; outsourcing work with elite professionals in their respective areas! Each time required some form of connection, conversation, and C.H.A.N.G.E.:
C – Control vs. Can’t Control!
H – Honor Feedback!
A – Accept Challenges!
N – Nurse Yourself & Your People!
G – Growth & Evolution!
E – Expectations!
C – Control vs. Can’t Control
When change occurs, it’s either one of three ways:
- A Change you have complete control over – You have the green light and you’re making a change, a decision, that will best in the short-term, long-term, or both for the organization, your people, customer.
- A Change you have no control over – There are times you’ve gotten to work, read you email or sat in a meeting, and the train has already left the station about a decision you don’t like, think is the dumbest thing in the world, or is a competing leader’s idea… and you need to deliver the news to your people with a SMILE and FOLLOW-THROUGH!
- A Mixture – Change is being thrusted upon you, but you have some level of authority and flexibility to make it work the best way you see fit.
When you have control or a mixture of control, here’s a formula I’ve shared in my book, 7 Ways to Lead:
Repeat (back to brainstorming ideas and back down the list you go)
When you have no control and the train has left the station, here’s the formula:
Inform – Be transparent regarding what’s going on and why!
Educate – How is it good for your people, your customer, and the organization?
Train – Teach your people how to do what’s now expected!
Follow-Through – Enhance your leadership and that of those you’re leading by following through and succeeding tremendously with something you didn’t even like or agree with. How impressed would you be if you changed things, shared it with a Direct Report, knew they weren’t a fan of the idea, but followed through and crushed it anyway? Be that gift and give that gift to your boss and organization and wait and see what opportunities come knocking!
H – Honor Feedback!
Whether it’s change you could control, couldn’t, or a mixture… your people are going to have thoughts about it. Some great, some good, and some complaints! It’s human nature and as a leader, we must anticipate complaints and negativity up to a point… we’ll get to that next. But for now… we want to honor the feedback our people are willing to share.
Many companies value their anonymous surveys. If this is the way you do it, great! Simply be sure to review them, honor them, and make a few if not a lot of tweaks due to them… otherwise, what’s the point! Once you do, it only makes sense to thank your people for their feedback, explain what changes were made due to the surveys, and why others weren’t.
I will always champion A Leader’s 1-on-1 Meetings… you know that meeting… the number one cancelled and rescheduled meeting across all organizations, Lol! If you’re the CEO, I don’t expect you to have 1-on-1s with every employee… I do expect you direct managers to have 1-on-1’s with their front-line employees, Middle-Management with supervisors, supervisors with your direct reports, and you with your direct reports. That way, feedback works its way UP and DOWN your org chart. Lastly, if you’ve followed my videos, articles, and books… when you mixed this in with A Leader’s Visit; how to as a BIG Boss and visit your Front-Line Employees… it’s amazing the connection you’ll make, the trust you’ll increase, the real change you’ll be able to make or request!
A – Accept & Anticipate Challenges!
As I mentioned, through change your people are going to have their own thoughts, feelings, and gossip about it… good gossip and bad gossip. It’s to be expected, but when it’s hostile to the point of being problematic… it cannot be tolerated! Feedback is one thing, mutiny is other! Please remember, the Grouches within your organization recruit better than you. Therefore, accept the challenges that come with change: venting, gossip, and the human nature urge to resist and not follow-through with change. As a leader, you anticipate it, but are ready to share and reveal a new day to and with your people!
“Hi Everyone and I hope you’re all having an amazing day! I like to Thank everyone for all the hard work and dedication to _______ thus far and we could not have achieved what we have without you. It is a new day and with it we have changes coming to ensure that we stay elite and serve you and our customers/client best! I know change can be difficult and frustrating! Some of you will adjust quickly and some won’t. We want to move forward with everyone and can and will only do it with people that are Positive, Passionate, and Productive… not only with what we’ve been doing, but also with where we’re going and what’s next. We will be focusing on ______ moving forward and I’m excited to meet with leadership, management, and visit those whose boots are on the ground for feedback as we move forward. Onward is the direction! Please, if or when you have questions, complaints, gripes… please speak with someone that can actually help you, not gossiping and creating a negative environment with a co-worker that may not be able to help. That’s not what we’re about and the train is leaving the station and we want you on it!”. This is a sample, something I’ve said many times before… It covers the change, how to vent, what you’re looking for in an employee, and sets you us up to have the TOUGH CONVERSATION with someone when they’re becoming a toxic leader or employee.
N – Nurse Yourself & Your People!
This is short and sweet… change can be hard and it can hurt. What do you do to nurse yourself, at work, at home, professionally, personally, relationally, spiritually? Put YOU in your calendar and DO IT! What do your people need? Bonuses, incentives, pats on the back, time off, lunch, an all-staff lunch off-site, etc. Stay curious about your people not just your metrics!
G – Growth & Evolution!
Change may increase revenue but may not always evolve your product, service, or organization! As a leader, when you have CONTROL over change that was implemented, it’s imperative you remove your ego in order to allow greater impact. When it’s your idea, you may be too married to every nuance and it hinders how far you can see!
My business wasn’t always Leadership & Work/Life Harmony for organizations… it started as a Men’s Social Club, in which men could attend monthly forums and events for the purpose of returning home “Better” not just relieved.
I’ll never forget designing our first t-shirt; I was so proud when they were delivered… like a proud papa. The shirt read, M.E.N., Men Evolving Now, Social Club of Reading Pa. As I was unveiling it to members, one gentleman said, “Why does it say Reading, Pa? I’m not from Reading.”. Inside I was boiling… mixed with frustration that my BIG reveal was being tarnished and embarrassment because he was right! There were men from three different cities and other places… and if I wanted my brand to be bigger, I just limited myself. The point is to brainstorm in the beginning when possible, allow feedback, and not only grow, but also evolve!!!
E – Expectations!
For change to be effective and meaningful, you must know where you’re going and how you’d prefer to get there! Success is like a road map. Once you know where you want to go… they’re many ways to get there… which one suits you best and what are the alternate roads for when change inevitably occurs? My road map is always The Leader’s 3! I get to share this worldwide and here’s a brief version for you:
- Vision & Vision Factors: What’s your Vision for you, your team, or organization through the change you can control or can’t control? What are the 3-5 things that when you do them consistently, the Vision takes care of itself? Remember, if you don’t know… neither do your people. Also, your Vision Factors also make it easier to know what to say “Yes” and “No” to… especially through change!
- Expectations – Mine are always the same. I only employ or outsource people who are the 3P’s: Positive, Passionate, and Productive. When this is who they are; they tend to be that way through change as well… and when they’re not, that needs to tell you something!
- Rules – I have three BIG ONES, but the one I’ll share now is, please accompany your problem with a suggested solution! This rule will decrease quite a bit or venting, negative gossip, and outright complaining… as you create a culture of solution-focused thinkers and doers instead of a culture of complainers and mediocrity!
I hope this helps complete the circle on how to lead through change and implement it within your team, organization, or personal life. Enjoy your journey, the process, and the change!!!
“When I was effectively led through change, those in leadership shared information, listened, followed-through with the change, helped take care of staff throughout the transition, allowed tweaks to be made as much as possible and if possible, and maintained high standards and expectations!” – Andre Young
Written by: Andre Young
Are you ready for more confident & competent leaders, enhanced connection with your teams, and a better work-culture? Click www.youevolvingnow.com for find out more… and to connect, chat, and customize with Andre Young to best impact your people with his high energy and interactive Leadership & Work/Life Harmony Trainings, Speaking Engagements, and more!!!