Using “change” and “good mood” in a title makes most people’s eyes roll. “nobody likes change” is the common cry. Even though some people like some change, change is tough and disruptive. It takes work and effort.
While making change happen and keeping people happy is not easy, it’s really not hard either. It’s not about what’s changing, it’s about how change is implemented.
When change is imposed, those impacted can be defined by three groups.
- One-third are vocal resistors – “Oh no, this is going to be terrible. I won’t do it!”
- One-third are vocal supporters – I’ve been waiting for years for management to wise up and make these changes. What took so long!
- One-third are silent resistors. In their minds their saying “This doesn’t sound so good. Why now? What if it makes things worse? I’m worried, better keep my mouth shut.”
Rule #1: Focus on vocal supporters. Vocal resistors will lose energy as attention on the supporters will sway the silent resistors as they begin to see benefits. Silent resistors will quickly and quietly join the vocal supporters and the vocal resistors will have shrinking support and their complaints will slowly turn from resistance to participation.
Rule #2: Success creates change. Focus on the success staff helped to create. Link change to successful staff efforts. Remember, every situation is a two sided-coin. Be sure to talk about the glass being half full.
Rule #3: Every change brings opportunity to provide something people want. Promote the wants with laser focus. Acknowledge the negatives when asked, then come back to the positives.
Rule #4: Realize nobody likes to fail and change always leads to some failure. Be sympathetic, supportive, and prepare staff. Help them understand making mistakes while learning is expected, healthy, and normal.
Rule 5: Provide some means of reward and reinforcement for new behavior and small victories. Everyone wants to be recognized for doing something good. Let successful adoption of change be that something and reward those who willingly and supportively hop on for the ride and make things better.