Change is happening at an unbelievable rate. Experts say we are now experiencing more change in 1 year than our parents did in a decade or our grandparents did in their lifetime! The 3 main drivers of change are technology, information and people. Managing change in a team environment is always a challenge as rapid change can become overwhelming and result in inaccurate work, short tempers, lack of cooperation, missed deadlines and projects off schedule. As a team leader, there are some steps you can take to better “orchestrate” change.
Organize yourself 1st.
You need a clear vision of where you are headed and what is to be accomplished. Then you need to share that vision.
Role model support & enthusiasm.
Your team members look to you to set the tone. If you aren’t excited and enthusiastic, they won’t be either. They CAN”T be more excited about it than you are. Sometimes you will have to “fake it until you make it” on this.
Communicate the “why’s.”
People have a natural curiosity about why a change is needed. Provide as much background as you can to help them understand. If you don’t, they will make up information to fill the void and I guarantee it won’t be as positive.
Help them break with the past.
You will need to allow for time to “mourn” the previous systems or processes. Just don’t let every meeting become a “bitch” session. Re-focus the team members on the positives that will come from the change. But don’t tell them – ask them. If they can verbalize the positives, they will believe them.
Engage staff in implementation planning.
The more the team members participate in planning the implementation of the change, the more committed they will become to its success.
Team members need to know what’s expected from them to do well. The more specific you are the better. Next, re-align consequences for both positive and negative behavior. Then communicate these to the staff.
Think outside the box.
Use team synergy techniques for creative problem solving that allows them to generate new ideas. This process is exciting and energizing in itself, plus the ideas frequently make quantum leaps over past practices.
Reward staff for positive steps.
Recognition and rewards, even something as small as a verbal thank-you, can energize a team.
Actively listen and acknowledge stress.
When everyone is stressed out, it is time to take a break and listen. Focus groups or one-on-ones can help reduce stress if they result in an action plan to improve the situation.
Train them when needed.
One of the greatest fears team members have is that can’t perform as expected. Offer training as a support. Training increases competence and competence increases commitment. Send staff to training, offer mentoring or OJT opportunities.
Post desired results, use graphs and charts to illustrate your activities and plot progress. Team members need to know where they are in relation to the goal at all times.
Finally, think of your team members as your customers. They need you to provide the tools, training and support necessary to make the required changes. If you think of them as your customers and are constantly looking for ways to simplify processes, make their lives easier more hassle-free, you will end up with a high-performance team that manages change well.
For information on how we can help improve performance, contact us at:
1240 SW Oakley, Topeka, KS 66604
800-635-2310 or 785-233-7860