So you’ve successfully navigated the emotional rollercoaster of your company’s transition. You moved beyond the status quo with a strong pitch that got the C-suite to buy in. And you illustrated to your co-workers that the organizational change won’t be as much of a disruption to their professional lives as they originally feared.
Now as your company continues to change early-career recruitment processes and strategies, you’re ready to get your company through the final two stages of the Change Curve.
As a refresher, the Change Curve is the four-stage model created by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross that was originally conceived as a way to process grief. Since its creation, it’s also been adopted to describe how companies deal with organizational change.
And now that you’ve read Part I of this series and have moved past the initial stages of driving organizational change, you need to continue on with your eyes on the final prize.
Here are two tips to help you sell—and close—an idea within your company.
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Encourage Employee Exploration
Once your company reaches the exploration stage, employees stop focusing on what they’ve lost. Instead, they’re testing and learning the reality of what these changes mean.
The key is to genuinely listen to any concerns and be open-minded to them, even if it means your hypothesis is wrong. Why? Because research shows that you gain credibility if you ask for advice, but only if you actually want it. If you’re just asking others under the guise of valuing their opinions and ignore their valid objections, people will see through the charade and view you as simply pushing your own agenda.
So, how can you do this effectively?
- Be a facilitator: Host focus groups and discussions on the idea of change and guide the conversation.
- Listen to alternative ideas: Other employees may have ideas that are complementary or maybe even better than what you’re proposing. Be open-minded to everything.
- Be transparent: Explain what the point of these meetings will be and how the information will be used to drive decisions about the proposed changes.
One way to encourage employee exploration is to label the change as a draft form, Forbes suggests. In other words, commit to a trial period. Use an extended period of time to test your hypothesis. During this time, communicate the message of change using as many mediums as possible. Discuss it in meetings, emails, newsletters, etc.
Another important element of exploration is to divide tasks among your company. This helps people feel like they are genuinely part of the change. And it allows you to personalize responsibilities to people’s strengths, as Entrepreneur encourages. Remember to follow up regularly to see how everyone’s doing with the changes. Be empathetic to challenges that arise, and everyone will know they’re in this together.
The goal is to get company-wide acceptance. The change is happening. And by the end of this stage, all of your employees understand it—and start to see it, since you’re continually sharing data that illustrates your progress. It helps them prepare for the final stage of the Change Curve.
Rebuilding Is The Right Decision, And It’s Backed By Data
The last phase is the rebuilding stage, so it’s vital that you keep employees committed to the change you’re ushering in. Here, the onus falls on management. According to Gallup, only 22 percent of U.S. employees strongly agree that their company’s leaders have a clear direction for their organization. So if the C-Suite has bought in and can continue to sell how the changes are affecting the company in a positive way—and align with the ultimate vision of the organization—you’re almost done with the Change Curve.
Which is why it’s so crucial that employees see the results of the change. If you’re transparent throughout the process, your employees will see that legitimate data confirmed your hypothesis. Now your company’s like a phoenix, rising out of the ashes of an old, inefficient process, to a new, optimized way of doing things.
If you’ve convinced people to trust the process (by making them a part of it), then everyone should be on board. So instead of having a monumental task, you used the Change Curve—and the help of your fellow employees—to push that boulder of change up and over the hill.