How to Rally Your Team When Leading Through Change
You’re a human-centered leader, leading through change that you know will have a positive impact on your team, your customers, and your results. You know how important it is to get your team rallied around an exciting vision for the future. If this sounds like you, today’s article is for you.
Today, I bring you a very special edition of Demander Un Ami (Asking for a Friend) from various angles of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.
Here’s the question that prompted this production of #askingforafriend…
“Hey Karin, I have a really exciting vision I know will be helpful for my team. But, they’re tired and a little bit skeptical. What are some really practical ways I can get them excited and interested in the change? #AskingforaFriend
Leading Through Change: 4 Practical Tips To Help Your Team Embrace a New Idea
- Meet your team where they are
- Help them express their concerns
- Celebrate small wins
- Know you are not alone: find the others
1. Meet Your Team Where They Are
Start with what’s already working on your team. When you’re leading through change, help your team recognize the behaviors they are already doing that are making such a positive difference.
Give them an opportunity to share their best practices that relate to your vision.
Leading Through Change Pro Tip: Have everyone write down their best practices on a card as it relates to the change you’re proposing. Then invite them to share and discuss their best practices with other members of the team.
In larger groups, we often will gamify this process, by giving team members lightbulb stickers to “vote” for the best practices they resonate with the most. This will get everyone’s voice in the conversation quickly, as well as make it easy to see which ideas are worth deeper exploration and conversation.
Then you can talk about how you can continue to encourage, celebrate and scale the best practices and get more of the team involved in leading through the change.
2. Help Them Express Their Concerns
Get the concerns in the room, in the room.
Give time for everyone to share their concerns and ask courageous questions. Get curious about the possibilities. In the video, I describe a time-tested tool, Kurt Lewin’s Force field analysis that we use quite frequently in our leadership programs. It’s amazing how well this easy-to-use technique works.
Leading Through Change Pro Tip: Invite everyone to share the “driving” positive, supporting factors first. What’s helping drive you all toward your vision? Then, invite your team to share their concerns. What are the restraining factors that might make the change difficult?
This creates great fodder for conversation. Embrace it all. Encourage candor and dialogue. Once the hopes and concerns are boarded, you’re in a perfect position to discuss ideas to amplify the driving forces and to mitigate or work to overcome the restraining forces.
3. Celebrate the Small Wins
Catch people doing the behaviors that are integral to the change and celebrate them. You can start by recognizing the behaviors yourself. Celebrate them in meetings. Talk about them as part of your 5×5 communication strategy.
Leading Through Change Pro Tip: Not only is it important to notice other people taking steps toward realizing your vision…it’s also helpful to be keenly aware of your own behaviors related to the change. Do you need to adjust your day-to-day actions so you can best model the change you want to see in your team and organization?
4. Know You Are Not Alone: Find the Others
When leading through change, find others who also believe in the change as fast as you can. And, get them involved in the process of rallying your team.
Look for people on your team (including support team members like HR, Finance, and project managers) who really understand what you’re doing. Give them an active role in the change process.
If there’s training involved, consider including your most engaged managers as “leader teachers.” Leverage these managers to help others learn and apply what they’re learning. Note: You can read more about our “leaders as teachers” approach to leading “challenger groups” in this ATD article.
Leading Through Change Pro Tip: The “Diffusion of Innovations” is another time-tested organizational development theory that has been central to my work with teams for decades. It’s all about finding the early adopters and getting them to help you provide social proof and spread the word to encourage others to try out new behaviors.
One of the best ways to do this is to find peers and colleagues working to lead similar change efforts on their teams. Work together. Share best practices. Encourage one another.
Your Turn. What are your best practices for leading through change?
What would you add? Write in the comments below, I would love to hear from you. What are your best practices for leading through change?