Guiding Your Team Through Change

A healthy business is an evolving business. As we assess procedures, evaluate successes and failures and set new goals, we know that change is a valuable though sometimes painful process. Even when change is necessary, it brings discomfort.

How can you equip your team—in the shop, on the project site or in the office—to deal with major organizational shifts within your business?

Lead well.

Good leadership in this area begins with a plan. Explain to your team when, how and even why these specific changes are necessary. Provide a timeline to describe the rollout and prepare responses to potential questions. Make certain that new (and old) tasks and responsibilities are clearly defined for all involved.

Communicate more, not less.

Pay attention to communication before, during and after major organizational change. You want to be transparent about what is happening, acknowledging up front that change is coming and explaining the impact that will occur.

Be accessible to your team and keep them updated, even if you just briefly check in to put their minds at ease. Hold team meetings and open up the floor to questions. Invite one-on-one discussion with individuals, and really listen to their needs, concerns and fears. Be realistic and transparent with your team by acknowledging potential challenges, and then reassure them with confidence and clarity that you have their best interests in mind.

Train intentionally.

Once employees know where the business is going, show them how you will get there. Give them clear direction about the training that will take place to learn new products or processes. Remember that you will all need time to adjust and learn together. Provide consistent oversight through the training and adaptation process. Communicate the metrics you will use to gauge success and set goals for some early milestones and quick wins to encourage the whole team.

Change brings fear, which can lead to fatigue. The more you can put employees’ fears to rest, the more energy and excitement they will have surrounding a change. Help your team understand the value of the change and reassure them that because they are part of the team, you will all be equipped to face the future together.