In Change, Leaders

“Most people prefer the certainty of misery to the misery of uncertainty.” – Virginia Satir

We spend a lot of time in the change arena talking about what we need to do as leaders in creating and implementing change. WHERE do we want our business to be? What steps do we have to take? How will those steps and that WHERE impact the business as a whole?

One thing not enough leaders spend time figuring out is how change will impact the individuals who work for them. Quite often we get so caught up in how much growth this change will create, or how much more profitable we’ll be, or how much happier our customers will be, that we assume that’s all that matters. We think that if it’s better for the business from a 30,000-foot view, then everybody will get on board.

The reality is that the vast majority of people don’t ever really see the 30,000-foot view, and if they did, they might not even care. What most people are primarily concerned with is “What’s in it for me?” Just making the company more profitable doesn’t motivate people. They interpret “more profitable” to mean “my boss gets to make more money”. And if you can’t get people motivated about change, they’re not going to help you make it – and you will fail.

So as you get ready to implement change, think about how that change is going to impact the people who work in your business. Maybe if you only have 4 or 5 employees that’s a manageable task. But what if you have 300? Or 3,000?

Think about the people who work for you. Who are the individuals who are innovators, or early adopters, people who tend to get on board with change quickly, who like new things & new ideas? Work on those people first. Get them excited and on board and let them help you reach everyone else.

You’ll never convince everybody to get behind change. There is a segment of the population who will always be opposed, no matter what it is. So ignore those people. Let the innovators and early adopters get the ball rolling and they’ll help you move things along.

Sometimes we get in such a hurry to make change that we forget there are actual human beings that will be impacted, and they aren’t going to put much energy into helping you make that change until they understand what’s in it for them. Think about it & communicate it. Because it’s not just about you.

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