What do you fear? Fear comes in many forms and fashion. The power of your fears typically comes from sources that are not supported in fact. Legend, folklore and hearsay fuel the fears of people. Fear in the workplace is sourced from those same venues, then fueled by careless and reckless management behaviors. A recent survey shows that 32% of employees constantly live in fear of losing their job and 38% fear they will suffer a paycut. With that level of fear floating around the workplace, is it surprising that implementing change programs is so difficult.
Implementation and Change
The most important element to implementation of change programs, like Lean Six Sigma, is to understand why people will resist change. When you clearly understand the fears and motivations, you will understand how to better deal with the challenges of change implementation. Once you understand the whys, then you need to specifically address behaviors that clearly influence these fears. Here are the elements you must keep in mind:
- Loss of Jobs – Focus on a higher degree of job satisfaction. Unhappy employees experience fear of change. Happy employees see change as necessity.
- Effective Communication – Clearly communicate the who, what, when, where and why of the change. Be clear, be concise and be truthful. This is where trust is established. Accurate information dispells rumor fueled by fear.
- Shock and Fear – Never spring things on them. People hate surprises and the element of surprise fuels fear. Be transparent.
- Losing Control – We like habit and consistency. People will resist change because they like the way it has always been. Effective communications bridges this gap.
- Lack of Skills – The fear they do not have the skills to function in the new environment. Provide support and comprehensive training that enables confidence in the future.
- Poor Timing – There never is a great time. People always have things going and those who aren’t happy just cannot seem to embrace change. Have a strategy, be visible and communicate effectively.
- No Reward – You get the behavior you recognize and reward. Change the current recognition programs to adapt to the change implementation. Be quick and public with recognition for the behavior you are seeking. Let them feel the success!
- The Politics – There will be employees who assume the mission to see that any change implementation is met with utter defeat! Your focus on communication, transparency and recognition will go a long way towards deflating the naysayers.
- Losing Support – Change means they may look at losing their support systems. They fear change in supervisors or team members, maybe even the environment. Open communication and visibility will go a long way to ease these fears.
- Bad Experiences – Whether in your organization or from the outside, someone will be able to recount endless tales of failure when things like this were tried before. Communicate the challenges and the plan for overcoming those challenges. Solicit their feedback and use their ideas. Develop trust and practice humility.
- The Power of The Group – There will be a faction(s) in the organization that will lobby against the change implementation. People can easily give way to the peer pressure. Deal with it from a position of trust and transparency. Communicate effectively.