We are creatures of habit, so when a change is introduced in the workplace, whether it’s a new product line or company restructuring, it can be met with fear from employees.
Still, in order to remain competitive, companies must change, adapt and often take risks. As the leader you have to think about the big picture and explain it clearly so others know where their activities fit within the overall direction for change.
However, many leaders become guilty of focusing on the “here and now”, and as a result, neglect to keep the big picture in mind. These types of leaders are not focusing adequately on the issues and ideas that will move their group or organization into the future. In addition, they may have a difficult time explaining clearly and concisely what the organization must do to improve its competitive position in the marketplace.
Once you begin focusing on the future and come up with a new idea or strategy, the next step is getting your team to accept change. The key is to articulate your vision in concrete terms in order to explain it to others and obtain their cooperation and enthusiasm.
Here are some tips to help you think with a “future” mindset and bring your staff onboard:
- Review your vision statement or create one that is future oriented and describes an ideal state. Well-designed mission and vision statements provide a sense of direction and help people understand how their jobs contribute to organizational success.
- When considering alternatives, ask yourself and others “why not?” instead of “why?” Identify the change champions in your organization and work with them to support and initiate change.
- Create an “elevator message” as part of your plan to communicate your vision. This is a colorful story, metaphor, or saying that captures the essence of your vision and can be conveyed in less than 30 seconds (i.e., the length of a typical ride in an elevator.)
- Whenever you have a new initiative, try the following exercise: Anticipate who might be supportive of your initiative and who might oppose it or attempt to sabotage it. Think about why these people are likely to act as you anticipate. Then watch the situation play out, and see how accurate you were. If you weren’t very close, analyze what factors became important that you misunderstood or underestimated.
Change isn’t easy, but with the right approach, it can do you and your company good.