Do members on your team view change as frightening, something to be avoided?  Actually, change isn’t necessarily bad; in fact, it can be an amazing opportunity for personal growth, new directions, and renewed energy.   To make change a positive experience, keep in mind the following five tips.

1) Be Strategic About Change

Watch for signs of change within your organization or industry.  These changes may affect your team’s role.  Make contingency plans and build scenarios for those possible changes.

2) Communicate Change

Make an effort to communicate what you could see happening now and what might happen in the future.  Encourage the members of your team to express their perceptions and ideas.  You might be surprised at their insights. In addition, they will feel their contribution is important enough to be considered in the overall team’s strategy.  As active participants, they will be less likely to reject future changes in the organization.

3) Coach for Change

Organizations need continuous improvement in all areas if they are to remain successful.  Meet with members of your team often.  Make them individual change champions for their areas of responsibility.  Encourage strategic thinking and planning for their roles and future roles.  Help them develop the skills needed to implement these anticipated changes.

4) Try Mini Changes

Encourage team members to experience tasks outside their normal duties with other members of the organization or team.  If you need to visit a client, ask a team member to join you.  Help your team members understand the needs of your customers and do likewise with their customers.  The dynamics of an organization that embraces mini changes will also promote organizational cohesiveness.

5) Celebrate Changes

Notice the little changes that happen every day, comment on them, and when appropriate, celebrate them.  If Mary comes to work with a new hairdo or better attitude, compliment her.  If Albert changes a process that makes his role easier, faster, or more accurate, have him share his innovative idea with other team members.  Positive feedback on change leads to positive performance and creative thinking in others.

Some people will resist change no matter how you prepare them for it.  However, by using a few simple techniques, change will be more comfortable, reducing the time and severity of negative responses.   More importantly, you open the way for innovation, excitement, and strategic thinking for your team.

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About the Author
Martha Rice

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