How to Introduce Change

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Progress cannot occur without change, but the only change that brings progress is the kind that produces positive results, inspires cooperation and support, and generates increased profits and efficiency. Creativity is the birthstone of change, and the way to mange creativity effectively is to manage change effectively. Change must be positive, but it is not enough to initiate positive change. It is equally as important to introduce change in a positive manner. 

What's the best way to achieve this? Give your employees a personal stake in the change. Encourage them to participate. Make the new system their system as well as your system. Consult, don't impose. Share your ideas and get your employees to contribute their own thinking and suggestions. Telling people how you want the job done and ordering them to do it is rarely as effective as soliciting their cooperation on a partnership basis. 

  • Show your employees how they will benefit. If they won’t benefit, level with them. Then explain what action they can take (with your help) to minimize the disadvantage. But in most cases, constructive change benefits the majority as well as the organization. 
  • Let them know that you're flexible. Be open-minded in discussing the change. Don't be limited by your preconceived ideas. Consider the possibility that some of your subordinates may have suggestions to improve on your original idea. Be prepared to alter procedures if alterations make sense. 
  • Recruit influential employees as allies. Selling change is every bit as important as initiating it. The best sales aid you could have going for you is a popular employee who is respected and listened to by his or her peers. 
  • Demonstrate the new idea’s effectiveness. Nothing succeeds like success. Did the new procedure work well in another organization or division? Encourage the logical conclusion that if it worked well somewhere else, there’s no reason it shouldn't work as well here.

Spoon feed the change. Individual adjustment to significant change is a complex procedure. The most effective way to introduce change is a little at a time. Allow for digestion and absorption. By the time the change is ready to go into effect, people concerned and involved will be familiar with what is going to happen and will be convinced that the change is constructive.