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We need to change to stay ahead....


Change is the only constant as is often said, and nowhere is this more evident than in business - and the pace of change just seems to keep accelerating that’s for sure!


Yet, despite its inevitability, many individuals and organisations can often be reluctant to embrace new ways of working and struggle to see why the business’s direction may need to change.


One of my favourite sayings has always been 'not to get bent out of shape by things you can’t influence' i.e. focus on what you can change and don’t dream for times past. However, on reflection this is too simplistic a view and for people to really buy in to necessary change, we need to focus on the human element to reap the best, sustainable rewards.


In this blog, we consider why people can be reluctant to accept change and the best strategies to overcome this reluctance, allowing for a smoother transition that creates a more agile and resilient business environment.


First it’s necessary to understand the potential reasons behind reluctance to change, and something I must admit I’ve struggled with in the past when to me the need to adapt in certain situations has been so apparent.


Lack of information and knowledge ‘The Why’ - Is everyone affected in possession of the same facts and figures that has led you to initiate change? A lack of communication will lead to distrust and resentment. We all have a different outlook, and a lack of clarity means people are more likely to resist change which they perceive as arbitrary or imposed from above without proper explanation.


Preferring to remain in our comfort zone - Humans are creatures of habit, often preferring the predictability of where we are right now. Change disrupts this comfort zone, triggering anxiety and resistance. A fear of the unknown means people may cling to the familiar, regardless of its shortcomings.


Not feeling fully involved in the process – This will lead to a feeling of lack of control and can create both fear and reluctance to move ahead.


Unsure if we have the skillset to achieve the desired outcome & a fear of failure – Have we equipped people with the necessary tools? It’s not easy for any of us to acknowledge we may need help to achieve the right outcome.


A perception, or indeed, reality of additional workload for people - This can add to stress levels and lead to resistance if not properly discussed and resolved.


Change often means letting go of old processes & structures, and reorganising responsibilities, all of which can magnify the perceived losses over any gains and so amplifies resistance.


However, we can adapt to change well as it's inbuilt in us, but we need to ensure clarity and remove ambiguity for all concerned.

 

Given all the potential obstacles, what can we do expedite change and ensure the best way forward for our business?


Communicate the why and the how - Clearly articulate the reasoning behind the change to everyone affected, emphasising the benefits and opportunities it presents for individuals and the organisation as a whole – and why maintaining the status quo is just not an option. When people understand the rationale behind change, they are more likely to buy into it. It is equally important to communicate the plan as to how we intend to achieve the desired outcome.


Lead by example - Actions speak louder than words and can inspire others to follow suit. Authenticity is the only way to achieve credibility.


Involve everyone affected – Encourage feedback & ideas, and make sure there is a clear route for everyone to raise comments and concerns. When people feel heard and valued, they are more likely to embrace change. They are also less likely to be stressed and will contribute positively to the collective effort. Success will only ever be achieved as a team.


Foster a culture of continuous learning - Encourage a growth mindset where learning and adaptation are encouraged. Don’t be frightened to modify plans where it’s clear there is a better way forward.


Provide support and resources - Change can be daunting, so provide the necessary support, training, and resources to help individuals navigate the transition smoothly. Don’t brush aside concerns but make sure adequate time is devoted to coach and encourage everyone.


Celebrate every win however big or small - acknowledge and celebrate milestones along the change journey, no matter how small. This helps develop a feel-good factor, maintains momentum, and reinforces the belief that change is achievable and worthwhile.


Embracing change isn't always easy, but with the right mindset, communication, and support, it can lead to positive, transformative outcomes for individuals and businesses alike.


As ever all feedback and comments greatly appreciated.

 

Richard




 

 

 

 

 

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