How Do Successful Managers Prepare Their Teams for Change?

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how to successful managers prepare their teams for change

Change before you have to.

Because trying to change after hitting the threshold will be more like having one foot in the grave.

Here’s the bitter truth, the once strong correlation between profitability and industry share is now almost non-existent in some sectors due to the inability to adapt.

Adaptability which is the new competitive advantage, has become the determinant of your business’s success and failure!

The stagnant businesses which did not give a damn about changing with the world have been dead and we have proof for it.

Why facing a change is still a nightmare?

There are seven stages that people go through during times of change, psychologically speaking.

And those changes have been innovatively and accurately documented in the Kubler-Ross change curve.

Created by the Swiss-American psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in 1969, it depicts 5-stages of grief (i.e.) denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

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But this model can also be applied to the extent of workplace created especially in the corporate world.

The Kubler-Ross model helps to better understand the emotional turmoil faced by the business managers as well as the employees due to any change initiative at the workplace.

And here comes the 5 strategies that experts suggest, to counteract the above 5 stages of grief (while being exposed to a change, without warning) in a workplace:

# Communication is the Key
# Have a Plan, Always!
# Embrace Diversity of Thought
# Never Hesitate to Lead
# Say no to Unearthly Goals

1. Communication is the Key

The most important aspect of preparing your team for change is communication.

Making everyone aware of the impending change will ensure that everyone understands what is happening and why it is happening.

Communication will allow you to gain buy-in from your employees.

If changes occur unexpectedly and nothing is communicated to your employees, a vacuum is created that is easily filled with speculation, gossip, and rumours.

It is important to recognise that you may not have all of the answers to all unforeseen situations during the transition, but having an “open door” policy that welcomes employee suggestions on how to make this period a little easier for them will be beneficial to your employees.

The benefits in store!

  • You will eliminate guesswork and make change management
  • The workforce will worry less about dealing with potential resistance to change
  • The employees will start to see the big picture
  • Your teams will be seeing and seizing the opportunities that the change will bring
  • It guarantees a high talent retention rate

Employees will be more willing to accept change if they understand where the organisation is going and believe in its future.

Make sure to communicate early and clearly. A breakdown in communication will act as des and troy against all the good that the change is supposed to bring.

2. Have a plan, always!

It’s all above rendering people the balcony view they always want.

Letting people know the scope by screening the big picture in front of their eyes is always wise and will always pay off.
Once a clear picture has been painted, your employees will not only understand where the organisation is and where it wants to go, but they will also get a grip on why it needs to get there.

The next step in this process will be to devise a strategy for getting there.

Mapping out at least a blueprint of a plan will assist you in establishing a clear path that will let everyone know if you are on the right track towards change.

Furthermore, it never stops allowing you to establish your own milestones on the path to change that will build momentum and keep everyone engaged towards change.

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3. Embrace Diversity of Thought

True collaboration requires accepting diversity of thought and the various ways people think, act, and innovate.

When the intention behind the action is not fully leveraged, collaboration becomes an overused word, a cliché that people will start laughing at.

It also can be considered a fiction or a myth, if the state persists.

True collaboration entails not only working closely with and learning from one another, but also cultivating a treasure hunt of ideas and ideals.

Great teams understand how to collaborate not only among themselves, but also with other teams.

Collaboration entails creating a fortuitous environment in which people’s interconnectedness generates momentum that propels everyone closer to the finish line.

Too monotonous?! Let’s make this a bit more interesting, shall we?

Ask yourself and your employees this, are you a seer, sower, grower and/or sharer of opportunity?

Forbes have identified that when these four skills are brought together as one, they produce an optimal collaborative environment that breeds the most successful teams and a workplace culture that continuously propels innovation and initiative:

  • Seeing opportunities with broadened observation
  • Sowing opportunities with extensive innovation
  • Growing the seeds of opportunity of greatest potential
  • Sharing the opportunities you create and sustain with others

We know that you are sensing hope already, keep reading…

4. Never hesitate to lead

“It is not the manager’s job to prevent risks. It is the manager’s job to make it safe to take them.”

– ED CATMULL, Co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios

Leadership entails more than simply informing employees about the organization’s future plans.

An organization’s management cannot expect to reduce the frustration and depression phases of the change curve if they only tell employees how to act while failing to do so themselves.

Leadership must set an example by leading from the front.

When management leads from the front, the personnel will gain a complete understanding of the roadblocks that employees may encounter during the transition period.

Simply put, be brave and take the reins!

5. Say no to unearthly goals

Set more realistic objectives. Analyse and see what your team can and cannot do.

Ensure that you treat your employees like humans, under all sorts of pressure. The unrealistic objectives can blindfold you against the employee well-being, beware!

Extreme amounts of uncertainty accompany times of change, which emphasises the value of communication once more.

Depending on how long the period of uncertainty and change lasts, organisations may see a few resignations because tension is often the only method for employees to release it during times of uncertainty, and resignation is frequently the only option.

Key team members can therefore be expected to put in extra time and effort during the transition phase, but it’s crucial to provide them work with manageable objectives.

P.S. Thinking of implementing MBO?! You might want to skim through the dark side of it.

Goals and expectations are two pods in a pod!

Being able to control expectations as a leader at a time of change can help you, your team, and your organisation successfully cross the finish line.

The quality of the work produced at that period may decline, deadlines will be missed, and morale may suffer when goals and expectations are set too high.

A dejected and uneasy staff would be the outcome.

It’s critical to be clear about what is expected of your staff, but it’s even more important to be clear about what they may anticipate from you.

Wrapping up,

The above mentioned are the 5 ways, that are evidently fruitful, when it comes to tackling the uncertainty without drowning into oblivion.

There is more to it, you can take a look at the ones that can be put into practise (by creating different combinations) below.

  • Strengthening your company’s eco-system
  • Encouraging critical and strategical thinking
  • Clearing the fog around the issues
  • Identifying champions and letting them run with certain tasks

Well, what are you waiting for? Pick the strategies that can work for you. Twist and tweak, customize your combinations according to your needs. Taste the victory (I know that sounds ridiculous, but still).



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