How to Take Charge During Changes

changes
Lora Schafer

Lora Schafer

Founder / Principal Consultant at GrowStrong Consultant
Lora Schafer combines best management practices with behavioral psychology principles to assist business leaders produce high performing teams. Her company, GrowStrong Consulting, is dedicated to educating and training small business leaders to develop a healthy teams and dynamic culture. She is the author of the free eBook, "The Bootstrapper's Guide to a High Performing Team". Her experience and education includes strategic planning, leadership and team development, human resources and recruiting, conflict management and organizational communication and psychology.
Lora Schafer

@loraschafer

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Why do some people change baseball to speed it up? Nobody says golf needs to play faster. #ThursdayThoughts #leavebaseballalone #mlb - 1 day ago
Lora Schafer
Lora Schafer

Changes are necessary for survival and growth

Your business is on the edge of a precipice. Changes are necessary for survival and growth. Clearly, this won’t be easy. Things must change and people must move. New systems and products have to be introduced, and beloved ways of doing things must be replaced. You need to escape the ruts you’ve fallen in to and carve new paths.

The needed changes have been apparent for a while, and you’ve taken notice. Your executive leadership has carefully considered the options and have prepared a plan. Now the hard work begins: getting everyone on board and moving in the same direction.

There are two things you have to do:

1. You must communicate. 

2. You must coordinate. 

It is not a complicated list. These are two of the most used tools of any successful leader.

If you communicate and don’t coordinate, you may have great ideas and vision, but it won’t come to fruition.  If you say something once, most everyone will forget the details. No one will take significant action.

[6 Barriers to Making Necessary Changes]

If you coordinate but don’t communicate clearly and consistently, others will become confused and frustrated.  No one will fully understand what is happening and why. You will breed confusion about the needed resources, the expectations and the connections that need to be made.

Communicate:

Problem or Opportunity – All changes are triggered by a pressing problem or a sudden opportunity.  Many times, there are outside factors dictating change. Other times, there is a chance to do something new and amazing. Be clear with all of the stake holders what the motivation is for the change. Be careful not to assume everyone knows and understands. If you’re the leader part of your job is to see the problems and opportunities before others, so be wise, and share what you see.

Vision – What does the future look like? Describe what will be possible with the new ways of doing things or the change in product focus. Explain what the desired outcomes are, and list the possibilities.

Details – The devil is in the details. It starts to get sticky and clunky when details are discussed, but it is through the details that success is achieved and disaster is averted. Be as clear as possible what will change, how it will change, who will do the changing and who will be impacted.

Feedback – Communication is not a one-way street. In order to keep a pulse on the changes in play, you must actively and frequently seek feedback from the decisions makers, implementers and other stakeholders.

Co-ordinate:

Actions – The responsibilities and deliverables for each decision maker and implementer need to be carefully coordinated. How something is done is nearly as important as if it is done. When changes are in motion, perception is the fuel of momentum. How each step is executed and communicated is crucial in developing the perception and results required for success.

Key Connections – When things change, especially processes and systems, new connections are needed. These connections may not always be obvious or easy. As the leader, it is important to recognize the needed connections and assist others in making those connections.

Access to Resources – These are the tools, the skills, the information, the funding, the authority and the technology to make the change occur. If your team lacks any of these, they’re ability to execute is greatly diminished. Be active in verifying that the needed resources are available, and help seek them out when they are scarce.

Wash, Rinse and Repeat. Communication and coordination is not a one time, one stop shop. It is a constant, consistent and continual process.

[The Bootstrapper’s Guide to a High Performing Team – Free eBook]

The success of every leader, manager, entrepreneur and business owner hinges on their ability to communicate and coordinate in tandem. Doing these together, hands on, will reduce resistance, anxiety and uncertainty.

Change is rarely easy, but incorporating these elements into your plan of action can help you take charge of even the most difficult of changes.

When it comes to communicating and coordinating during changes, what are your biggest challenges?

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