Navigating Change in the Workplace

Change is a part of our everyday lives. We experience it on personal and professional levels as well as in our local, national, and global environments. Change itself is not always bad but how we navigate it can create challenges that interfere with progress. Today we will explore navigating change in the workplace using a GiANT tool called The Change Equation.

The Change Equation shows that change happens when three factors are greater than the resistance to change. Those factors are:

  • Dissatisfaction with the status quo.
  • A vision of the future.
  • Natural next steps.

Using these three factors guides the change process by first understanding what needs to change and why it needs to change, talking through and sharing the vision effectively, and ensuring that everyone understands what needs to happen for the change to occur. Let’s break down each step.

Dissatisfaction with the Status Quo

When considering changing something because we are not satisfied with the current results, the first question we need to consider is whether or not it is something we can change. We cannot change everything we are not satisfied with but we can learn how to deal with things that are out of our control. Check out our blog from August 2023 about Controlling the Controllables.

Once we determine that we can make a change then we get buy-in from our team and anyone outside of the team the change affects. This is where you communicate what needs to change and why it needs to change. Talk about any pain the current state is causing and strategize with your team about how to fix it. Ensure that all team members are onboard making a change.

A Vision of the Future

Casting vision to a team is not an easy feat. Gallup research shows:

  • Only 13% of U.S. employees strongly agree the leadership of their organization communicates effectively with the rest of the organization.
  • Just 15% strongly agree the leadership of their organization makes them feel enthusiastic about the future.
  • Only 34% are engaged.

We all hear and process information differently. Some people like to hear a captivating story tied to a vision. Others prefer to have data and facts related to the change tied to the vision. Both of these are good things. To reach everyone in the room, share appropriate data and facts along with a story that ties with the vision.

Another factor to consider is some people are present-oriented thinkers while others are future-oriented thinkers. Present-oriented thinkers need to feel comfortable with the present situation before they are ready to discuss future ideas. It is important first to know and understand each voice with your team. We can help you with that! Contact us here. Once you know your present-oriented and future-oriented thinkers, you can verify the present-oriented thinkers are good to move forward.

Lastly, allow your team time to ask questions and encourage them to share with the team what they heard the vision is. Both of these tactics will confirm your team understands and is ready to carry out the vision with you.

Natural Next Steps

Once the vision is clearly communicated and understood and the team is on board, it is time to consider what the next steps are to create change. You could work backwards from your goal using milestones (key areas of progress) or use milestones to get started by answering what is the natural next step. Getting started is the hardest part but identifying simple steps helps. Here are a few common things that may be the next natural step:

  • Developing a communication and project plan for the change.
  • Making a purchase.
  • Training for employees.

Whatever your next steps are, be sure to tie action to strategy by writing them down, assigning accountability, identifying deadlines, and scheduling progress meetings. It is important that your team has clarity in what to do moving forward.

Is navigating change in the workplace a struggle for you and your team? CLG can help. Contact us today!

-Melissa Spangler

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