A Need to Reset — Create Change Mindsets at Work
With all the internal and external disruption and turmoil in the workplace, many employees report experiencing a kind of “change fatigue” from having to work through an unprecedented number of changes in a relatively short amount of time. From the perspective of changing mindsets at work, workers’ ability to absorb and adapt to organizational change has decreased dramatically.
Yet, as organizations seek to reset their corporate strategies and goals to keep up, change management consulting experts know that this is the time when effective organizational change is most needed. The answer?
Leaders need to reset the conversation and create change mindsets at work ? across every level and function of the organization.
Leadership’s Role in Creating Change Mindsets at Work
We know from our change management simulation data that when leaders invest the time and effort to create change mindsets at work, those most affected by change are four times more likely to rate their change initiatives as successful than those who ignore the power of mindset. Change leaders need to rethink how they’re supporting their people through change by:
- Prioritizing Change Context over Content
Leaders are apt to rush into executing the content of change without having set the appropriate context for change. Before employees are ready to accept and commit to organizational change they need to feel an emotional connection to why it matters. Give your workers time to absorb what the change will mean to the business and to them as individual contributors to its success. Present your workers with a clear, inspiring picture of success and help them understand their role in achieving it.
Do those leading and most affected by change understand and agree with the:
— current state that they are changing from?
— level of dissatisfaction with the status quo?
— urgency for organizational change?
— vision for the desired change?
— business case for change?
Do not make the mistake of moving to action and tactics before people are fully onboard.
- Providing a Healthy Dose of Reality
At the same time as you want to inspire employees with a compelling vision of the future, don’t ignore the fact that organizational change will be difficult ? regardless of how small the changes may seem. Be as honest and transparent about the need to change as you can be. Share what it will take to overcome challenges along the way and balance those realistic expectations with your confidence in the payoff.
Do not make the mistake of “protecting” your employees from the hard truths. Effective change leaders treat their employees like professionals and actively involve employees in the change design, planning, and implementation processes.
- Continuing to Explicitly Support People
Be mindful of the continuing and visible need for support during the change process. Though you’ve set the stage for change, it is once the change is underway that questions, resistance, and obstacles to workplace change occur — frequently and unexpectedly. Stay close and listen well so you can provide empathetic coaching through the “mucky” stages of change that are bound to occur during the change process.
Do not make the mistake of thinking that change is an event. It is an ongoing process that must be actively led, managed, and coached.
- Reporting on Progress and Holding People Accountable
Just as successful dieters are motivated by tracking their steady weight loss, employees can be motivated by reports of their progress in their journey through change. Keep employees apprised of the wins and also the failures which give them a chance to learn and move forward better informed and prepared than they were before.
Do not underestimate the importance of change accountability to keep people focused on the new ways of working and behaving.
The Bottom Line
Organizational change failures are often not apparent until it is too late, and the change initiative is deeply underway. Smart change leaders cultivate and nurture a change mindset from the beginning. Have you adequately prepared the ground for successful change?
To learn more about how to create change mindsets at work, download the 5 Science-Backed Lenses of Change Leadership that Accelerate Change