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Why it matters

Whether change is deliberate or imposed, it's advisable to adopt an agile, unified approach to managing it. And in today's world (VUCA), it's best to see it as something positive, so as not to waste too much time trying to adjust. An enthusiastic team, on the lookout for development opportunities, will channel its energies more easily. It is absolutely essential to create the right conditions within organizations to instill and maintain the right mindset in the face of change.

Some ideas for developing this dimension with your team

Things to do

  • Educate people for change. Organizations are called upon to create a culture of change to prepare their staff to constantly face new situations. Leading forces endorse ad hoc management processes and systems; they are also responsible for motivating teams. This means developing a common way of expressing and managing people's emotions during transition phases.
  • Draw up a clear communications plan, for implementation before, during and after the transition phase. Think in advance about what information will be given and when. Transparent teams and organizations provide clear explanations at the right times, which helps to reduce resistance to change.
  • Get management actively involved. It is illusory to expect teams to welcome change with open arms, if they have not been involved or are not involved in the process. Leaders must act intelligibly from A to Z. Not just in the initial phase. There are ways of creating and reinforcing leverage: for example, by identifying and sponsoring the people best placed in the organization to lead by example and advocate change.
  • Create a community of change promoters and stakeholders. People resist change when they are subjected to it. As soon as they take ownership of it, they can see it more calmly, begin to accept the consequences and understand how to use their room for maneuver to their advantage. Leaders, for their part, need to start by identifying all stakeholders (individuals and groups alike), in order to signal their commitment. This should be done as early as possible, and then repeated.
  • Work with change management specialists throughout the process. For the team in charge of piloting the project, calling in specialists should be a no-brainer. These qualified, well-equipped individuals will provide valuable expertise and sound advice.

What to avoid

  • Ignoring the root causes of reluctance to change. Leaders often make the mistake of assuming that teams resist change because they are disengaged or difficult to work with. In the majority of cases, resistance is due to a lack of conviction or latent fears. Try to understand these reasons so you can respond appropriately. Turn resistance into an opportunity for frank and open dialogue!
  • Forgetting to solicit and/or integrate real-time feedback from teams during the implementation of change. Leaders who don't constantly adjust to feedback during this crucial phase risk coming across as peremptory and intimidating. Constantly solicit feedback from the individuals and groups concerned, so that you can modify the plan fluidly if necessary.
  • See change through your own prism. You need to take into account the realities of your team and the individual characteristics of its members. Pay attention to personality types when developing and deploying your plan. Some people (inspirers) will want things to move faster, while others (observers) will be cautious and therefore inclined to question your arguments before buying into them. A third category will demand concrete action (shapers). Finally, some people (coordinators) will work towards consensus.
  • Neglecting the why. Many leaders explain to their teams what needs to change and how, forgetting to mention the reasons why. Explaining and contextualizing things by talking about the organization's mission and vision is an essential preamble. Otherwise, change runs the risk of being misunderstood or misinterpreted. This could lead to a disconnect with the objectives and/or values of the teams concerned.
  • Refuse to admit that change requires mourning. Fear, anger and sadness are normal reactions. Not dealing with these emotions and assuming that people will immediately adapt is an approach doomed to failure. Change involves successive, progressive phases, similar to the stages of grief. Accept this and support your team at every stage.

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