Autumn is my favourite time of the year. I love the physical signs of change that start to happen all around us. First the "wee nip in the air" and then the darker mornings and evenings and of course the beautiful display as the leaves change colour and then rain down making thick carpets that are almost impossible to not to kick as you walk.
We have all heard the saying "Change is inevitable, growth is optional" by John Maxwell. I see this play out time and time again, when working with teams. Even if they have call me in with every intentional to make some change, when the process of change starts and it becomes uncomfortable I see people react in all sorts of ways. The ones who come through stronger on the other side have great leaders transitioning them through.
We all want the change, but we don't want the discomfort that comes with change. Change is charged with uncertainty. It challenges everything we know as normal and often threatens our significance. Where we were strong in the old, we feel unsure and challenged in the new. For most people this is a very uncomfortable time, it is full of self doubt, everything comes into question. Our reflex is to return to the safety ofthe known, or we armour up, hunker down and defend the old. Great leaders know how to help their teams transition well.
Here are three things to help you get through to the other side:
1. Clarity of Vision - Know where you are going
It is vitally important to be clear on what "There" looks like and why you want to be there before making the changes. If you are a leader and you are having to take your team across you have to have absolute clarity and you will have to remind them when it gets uncomfortable, why they are doing this.
2. Clarity of purpose - Know why you are going
As the leader, it is your job not only to clarify where you are going, but to be really clear why it is necessary. What isn't working with "Here" why do you need to leave this behind. Is this change really necessary, or is it the latest craze or sexy new "thang"? Does this align to your values and does it serve the overall vision and strategy of your business and team.
3. Clarity of direction - Know how you getting there
So you know where you are going, you know where you are leaving from and you know why you are doing it, now your job as the leader is to communicate, communicate, communicate and when you think you have over-communicated, communicate some more. You simple cannot cast vision once and hope that people will get it, your role as the leader is to be the Chief Reminding Officer. Vision leaks and leaks fast when the discomfort, uncertainty and self doubt kicks in. When people are in the middle of that journey they will need you to talk them through. You are the leader, lead them.
One last thing, change always means losing something, be mindful that some people need to grieve the lose. During change, allow your people to talk to you and don't get defensive, a 10 minute chat with someone to hear them out about what they are losing, can be hugely valuable, it's an opportunity to help them transition well.