Managing change positively

Changes, they are everywhere. Our modern world brings changes to our life more and more often. Sometimes we like them, sometimes we don’t. But we have to keep up with these changes to keep pace with modern life.

The same goes for projects we are managing – we need to keep improving to meet changing market demands. Try to recall how you managed your projects five years ago, three years ago, and even last year. Did you manage things differently? I know that I did!

Change takes us out of our comfort zone. Ouch! I bet that feeling is familiar to everyone. We don’t like it, so we usually try to avoid it. This is the reason our teams are sometimes so resistant to the changes we bring to them.

When I introduce a change to my team, I work to mitigate this resistance with the following steps.

  1. Seek input. People embrace solutions they have affected and the best solutions often come from within the team itself. Explain the problem as you see it, making sure that everyone understands the impact of this problem. Ask for input on how to solve it and consider all responses before determining the final solution.
  2. Prepare the team for change and take charge. Ultimately it is up to you, as the project manager, to determine and implement changes. Explain the change, providing hand-outs if needed, and allow discussion. You may have to explain why you rejected some solutions and embraced others.
  3. Find an ally. Resistance to change will be lower if it comes not only from you, but also from within the team. So share your idea with a trusted team member who will support you. If he/she understands and can explain the reasons behind the change, that will reinforce your efforts.
  4. Bring success stories to the team. If a similar change has worked elsewhere in your organization, bring people from that team (ideally, workers at the same level as your team members) to share their experience with the change. Let them sell this idea together with you.

 
These 4 simple steps will save you a lot of time and help your team change faster and perform better.