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Posted on December 15, 2016

Times they are a changin’. Here’s what to do about it.

Change Management

Times they are a changin’.

Here’s what to do about it.

2016 has been a weird year. Forget the presidential election for a minute, and reflect on how many changes have occurred at your company since last year. Whether the changes were planned, completely unexpected or somewhere in between, let’s face it: change is the only constant. So, knowing this, how do you communicate with your people, especially when you’ve been blindsided with the change? My two pieces of advice on change management: embrace the awkward and empower your managers!

 

First, embrace the awkward.

Did a senior leader hand in her resignation suddenly? Did a promising project end up tanking? Is a system upgrade resulting in more headaches than smiles? Try not to sugarcoat it for employees—they’ll see right through it, anyway—and instead, acknowledge that this change will be a distraction. Allow time for the news to sink in (remember, as a communicator, you might have had more time to sit with the change), create opportunities for people to ask questions and give them transparent answers.

Feeling tongue tied when someone asks a tough question? That’s normal! Be honest and explain that you hadn’t been expecting this change, and that’s why you (and leaders) will share updates when they’re ready. Your people will appreciate hearing a candid, authentic reaction to the news.

Empower your managers.

Where do employees turn when they’ve got questions or concerns about a change? That’s right, they turn to their manager. Anytime you can support your managers by giving them an early heads up about a change, talking points, online learning opportunities or conversation starters, do it. Managers shouldn’t have to go at it alone, and in fact, during times of change, they should communicate more—not less. Encourage managers to lead an open conversation with their team, and provide a space for people to bring their questions forward instead of letting them fester under the surface.

 

Can you tell that change management is a topic we’re passionate about? There’s so much more we’ve written about change management and how to brilliantly navigate changes at your company.

Bring it on 2017 – we’re ready for whatever you throw our way!

Kate Brinkerhoff