Ever heard the quote “the only constant in life is change”?
Well, that was ya boy Heraclitus; Greek philosopher extraordinaire. Given the kind of year 2020 has been so far, you’d be forgiven for thinking Heraclitus was talking about right now (actually he was busy getting his philosophy on in about 500 BC…we digress).
From bushfires to coronavirus, there’s been plenty of cause to adapt and learn how to deal with change so far this year.
From the macro context to the real estate and business environment, adapting to change doesn’t necessarily come easy. Whether it’s getting used to a new business process, adapting to a technological innovation or a fundamental change in strategic direction; fortunately, there are some tactics you can keep in mind that can take some of the stress out of the change process.
Here are our top 5:
1. Be clear on the goal
Having genuine clarity on the goal and intended outcome of the change makes the process of change easier to both understand and withstand. All business decisions should be guided by clear objectives, and these objectives should be the bedrock of your (or any!) organisation. Your ‘north star’ that you can keep coming back to; knowing and communicating these objectives means properly engaging with t why behind the change process.
2. Manage your expectations
Change can be really challenging. We could probably finish that point there actually; the reality is that change is hard. Setting and maintaining realistic expectations of yourself, of your team and of the entire process is crucial in managing change with minimal disruption to business as usual; but a change process with no disruption is virtually impossible. Keeping in touch with your expectations, and adjusting them if required, can help ensure that the process doesn’t become overwhelming.
3. Plan where possible
With all change projects, there are (often significant) unknowns. By its very nature, it’s impossible to know and plan everything, all the time (sorry to the lovers of control out there!) Normally though, there are some opportunities to plan, and making the most of these can help to make the change process as a whole, a little less daunting. Plan where possible, while knowing that planning everything is impossible.
4. Be open with your own narratives
Your objectives are clear, your plan is in place, your people are on board for the journey and…nothing unfolds quite how you’d hoped. It happens. While clarity on purpose and goal is essential, so too is having some flexibility in your narrative. Having the capacity to adapt to changing circumstances within the change process makes for a more positive and ultimately effective experience.
While clarity on purpose and goal is essential, so too is having some flexibility in your narrative.
5. Listen to feedback throughout the change process
Sometimes the hardest variable to manage while managing a process of change can be the people that are on the journey with you. As a manager, it’s important to accept that you can’t control individuals’ personal reactions and responses to change, but you can listen, encourage and ultimately facilitate feedback. Feedback can be a crucial vehicle for managing and improving change processes in real time. At the very least, encouraging and receiving feedback can enable you to check the ‘pulse’ of your people; which, when going through change, can be a valuable touchpoint in helping you preserve that culture you’ve worked so hard to establish.