5 Key Considerations When Implementing Change: How to Shake Up Process Whilst Keeping Your Team On Side.
Every office has at least one – the employee who is consistently resistant to technological change. So, how can you find a balance between championing your employees’ ability to think critically without having them fight with management every time you want to improve a process?
Fundamentally, the backing of your team can be the difference between any idea’s success or failure, so by taking the time to consider how your employees might feel about implementing changes and discussing any reservations will yield a more positive end result, along with the continued support and respect of your staff.
Here are the 5 key points to consider if you’re wondering why your team are dragging their feet when rolling out new systems and we discuss how to take on opposition when you have a new idea.
1. Welcome all challengers.
Firstly, accept that some individuals will always react by instantly objecting, especially if that person will be directly affected by the update. Don’t shut down these critical thinkers, as they could well be raising a valuable point. However, do your research and be prepared for challenges when first rolling out a new idea or strategy.
Any valid objections about the content should already have been thought-out, explored and answered before your presentation, so planning properly will avoid the more common objections.
If you are concerned about an individual who may struggle to adapt to changes, it can be well worth getting them onside early in the planning stage. The majority of obstruction comes from those who will be practically impacted by a shakeup of process, so early adoption and inclusion by those who frequently challenge will change the dynamic completely.
Getting tough cookies on side could have a big impact on your success further down the line and be prepared to take any feedback on board – making sure to find answers to those tough questions before finalising your changes.
2. Explain the ‘why’.
This might seem obvious, however the main reason for finding resistance to a new idea can simply be because your team are not aware of the bigger picture impact.
Discuss how and why a new process will improve either your team’s productivity or quality of life – and you won’t find you have such resistance to change. However, if the change will involve learning new skills without a valid reason, then don’t be surprised if you find yourself swimming against the tide when rolling out a new process – skip to point 5 for why this is most likely to fail in the long term.
3. If your business is small – avoid a soft roll-out.
If you find that certain staff consistently struggle with change, then take your team size into account when thinking about implementation. Dividing and delivering change in smaller groups may take the pressure off presenting and will almost certainly help with discussing challenges, however a softer roll out or staggered adaptation might lead to people feeling excluded, confused about an idea’s importance and can delay any positive impact the new process might ultimately have.
With small companies, if you are too keen to try out new ideas before they are developed properly, your staff can end up feeling as though there is no follow-though when it comes to change. The most dangerous behaviour to breed within a team is the mentality that ‘if I smile, nod and carry on regardless, then it should all blow over soon enough’.
Commit to your ideas, as per Step 2 above, and show your team ‘the why’- so your team can respect and fully commit to the change.
4. Understand and plan for the knowledge gap.
It is wise to recognise that different employees will learn at different rates. This is yet another reason to plan and think critically about changing technological processes, as what you may find easy can take others a lot of time and stress to get to grips with – and vice versa!
Take the time to prepare an interactive training session with your whole team, along with an open feedback forum so that you are able to work with people who have questions about anything they need clarifying.
5. Don’t fall back on ‘change for changes sake’.
One of the best parts of working in a small – medium sized business is the lack of bloated protocol, and the importance of innovating – in the right way.
When faced with new process, ask yourself whether change is absolutely necessary, and more importantly, if your proposed solution is your single best option.
Plan your new strategy thoroughly and avoid trying to meet an imaginary deadline for coming up with your solution. Most of us have had professional moments where we have not backed change because we know that on a practical level what is being proposed is not sustainable, not logical and not necessary.
If the bottom line is financial and it won’t affect the quality of your service, then people will likely get behind you. If your ideas are more complex, then try to simplify what you have and don’t rush the roll-out – your reputation and your team will thank you for that!
If you are struggling with your company IT process and need a fresh pair of eyes, Grant McGregor have over 20 years of industry and consulting experience.
Contact us on 0808 164 4142 to start the conversation!