Change is a good thing
The new year is time to resolve that we will work smarter, eat better and exercise more. This year we are going to change. Right?!?
Well, it sounded good anyway. Now that we are more than a month into 2014, most resolutions have either become habits or afterthoughts already.
According to Statistic Brain, only 8% of Americans are successful in achieving their resolutions. http://www.statisticbrain.com/new-years-resolution-statistics/ I imagine Canadians have similar results. Researchers have discovered that the older we get, the less resolutions we make. Is that a form of wisdom? I would sure like to think so.
Personally, I try to avoid setting myself up for failure. I prefer to make small changes and stick to them. By gradually changing my lifestyle habits and choices, I set myself up for success as opposed to failure. I don’t try and do too much at once. That way, when I fail to follow through on my “changes” I don’t fall too far. I am one of the 49% who fall into the study's category “have infrequent success with resolutions". This is probably why I stopped making them. They generally don’t work.
The same goes for making changes in the workplace. As we all know, change is a constant. We also know that everyone handles change differently. Some folks adapt to changes very easily, others are much more wary and resistant to change. While it is easy to attribute this to generational attitudes, people of all generations vary on their acceptance levels of change. I break this out below:
- We have the early adopters – those who seek information about change, adapt easily and conform to the changes with little difficulty. These folks can be ambassadors to help communicate workplace changes to their peers.
- On the other end of the spectrum are the resistors. These folks will do anything to avoid change and can sabotage change efforts by acting in a negative way. These folks are just not comfortable with change, in fact they fear it. They believe any change will hurt them some way.
So how can we learn from our resolution efforts and recognize that organizational work cultures have change adopters and resistors? Start slowly, set both short and long term goals. Achieve the small ones, and set some more. And be sure to always communicate how the company is measuring up. Employees and teams crave information. The good news and the not-so-good news.
If we communicate on a regular basis and offer real opportunities for two-way communication and feedback we've got a winning formula.
The majority Xposure PR's clients hold at least quarterly “town hall” meetings with employees. They spend significant resources ensuring they share goals, communicate results and clearly explain what the next series of goals are in the short and long term.
A number of leaders also communicate through internal and external blogs. It is a great opportunity to share their activities, especially for those who travel extensively or do not get a chance to visit regional offices on a regular basis.
What else do leaders in communicating change do?
- Tackle difficult issues. Be open and transparent about tough decisions. Share the reasons behind the change and what the future will look like. Emphasize that everyone benefits when the team succeeds.
- Actively listen, ask for support and include everyone. Provide feedback and acknowledge ideas whether they are on strategy or not.
- Connect the dots and help people understand how they fit in to the overall strategy. Share how individuals are contributing to achieving goals.
- Be consistent and visible. Stick to the program. If you start a blog for example, make a concerted effort to keep it fresh. While you don’t need to blog every day, a regular schedule will allow people to expect and rely on your communication.
Good luck with your resolutions and change efforts. The main lesson is to continue developing, adopting and exploring new horizons. It will help get us through these cold and dark winter days.