Is your business changing fast enough for continued success?
If a business doesn’t change, then sooner or later it’s left behind…overtaken by its competitors. So, change is necessary for a business to survive and grow.
People with Authority can force change upon subordinates within their business, but when subordinates don’t understand the need for the change or how it will affect them personally, they typically go into ‘self-protection mode’ and try to keep the status quo, either overtly, or more insidiously, covertly. So, change isn’t always welcomed with open arms.
Effective leaders don’t need to rely on hierarchical authority. They earn trust and they lead so that others will follow. Importantly, they remove barriers to change.
Common barriers to change are:
- people don’t see the need for change. They have a false sense of security because things are going ‘ok’ or ‘well’ and they don’t see the inherent risk of not So, they become complacent;
- they’re in their comfort zone, afraid of the risks that change may introduce; afraid of making mistakes;
- they can’t see the benefits the change can bring, because those benefits are outside their current sphere of experience. Simply put, they don’t know what they don’t know, and so they don’t know how much it’s actually costing them to ‘do nothing’;
- they don’t know WHAT to change to, or HOW to make the change.
As business mentors and change agents, we see these factors play out time and time again, and they need to be addressed from both logical and psychological stand-points.
To make people more comfortable with moving forward, the key questions they need answered are:
- “Does it really work?”
- “Will it work for me?”
- “Do I trust you (the leader or change agent)?”
If you think about it, each of these is about the person understanding, assessing and trying to minimize risk to themselves personally and to the business. To minimize their perceived risk, we recommend three things:
- Demonstrate how it works – for example, by some form of physical demonstration, logical model, or experiential learning event;
- Use case-studies and ‘social proof’ – that is, show them that it works for other people who are just like them and in similar situations. For example, in engaging with various businesses, we typically use case studies and video testimonials from other clients (with their permission of course). This not only confirms that it works, but also helps build trust.
- Build trust by going at a pace that is ambitious yet not too uncomfortable for the individuals concerned. That means we take baby steps where necessary, so that the individual sees there is minimal risk while they make progress. The results that they experience builds confidence and gives them a taste of what could be, while trust is developed at the same time. As their confidence, certainty and trust increases, so can the pace of change.
We’ve been doing this a long time now, and we find it works pretty well. As a leader in your business, if you haven’t tried this approach, give it a go. You might be surprised at how much more accepting of change some of your people may become. A key point is don’t just expect that people are ready and willing to change—you need to get them ready. We liken it to the saying, ‘When the student is ready, the teacher will appear’.
There’s more to it of course. Sometimes the importance and urgency for change is so intense that you don’t have the luxury of taking baby steps. None the less, if the leader already has the trust of his or her people, then the change will be more readily supported and more effectively implemented.
Getting past resistance is one thing, but if you really want to make headway, you need to be engaging the hearts and minds of your people to help drive the changes. That’s where much of the psychology comes in—getting people to take ownership of the change and pride in the outcome. We like to call it ‘Getting your people on the Change Train’.
If you’re ready and interested in learning more, check out our Performance Upgrade Accelerator Program, where we go into more depth, outlining a tried and proven 8-Step Process for Successful Change.