If someone offered you the key to a near painless change process in your organization with no catch, would you take it?
Today, I’m writing about the number one ingredient to smooth transitions. The number one ingredient to minimize change resistance is inclusion.
Prepare for Resistance
When an organization approaches a significant change, employees can sense it. They brace themselves against it, and leadership can feel that shift and their resistance. It makes the whole process even more stressful than it already is. However, organizations can deflate this resistance by strategically incorporating certain inclusive practices into the decision-making process.
Before your team catches wind of the big scary change around the corner, be sure to initiate the conversation first. Start by bringing it up in open discussions and conversations where your employees feel that their voices are welcome. This casual discussion format can set your teams’ minds at ease and give them an easy opportunity to share their perspective.
Another inclusive practice that brings about inclusion is a series of listening sessions, town halls or roundtables, or open sessions on Zoom (or in-person). It is crucial that by whatever means you demonstrate inclusion, you also take careful note of all the feedback you receive.
The Importance of Listening
The best way to go about this process is to follow the listening cycle that I cover in my book, The Art of Caring Leadership. Essentially, you must do the listening, process what you’ve learned, plan to act or not on it, and then connect the dots and share with the people you listened to what is happening.
If you engage in these inclusive practices, I guarantee that there will be very little resistance at the end. Of course, there are always going to be a few stubborn naysayers, but if you win over everyone else by showing how much you care, then that’s a win at the end of the day.
I care passionately about this. I was a casualty caught in the crossfire of an organization going through two re-organizations. While they went through changes, I was left helpless knee-deep in a mess. Nobody wants to be a bystander while their life happens to them.
People want to see their voices in the outcome. They want to know that they are wanted and seen. Even if the organization is aware that the change is overwhelmingly unfavorable, they can still present the honest truth to their employees. Who knows, maybe many will understand and have empathy. At the very least, they will know they’re not alone. Nobody should be a casualty of change.