Leaders should spend extra time building relationships at every level of the organization in preparation for change. In fact, deepening connections should be encouraged for everyone as a precursor to a change initiative or change event. Why? Because healthy connections and relationships increases trust, decreases anxiety and helps create the web of support for healthy change. People feel better in times of chaos or confusion when they are tightly held in relationship.
- Host coffees or Happy Hours
- Fireside chats with constituents, open office hours, etc.
- Video blog so others can get to know you as a leader
- Take people out to lunch or coffee
- Ask people what support they need
- Have panel of leaders share about key issues or challenges
- “Get to Know” moments- Highlight different in communication (newsletter, emails, Facebook, etc.) or in person meetings to share their gifts, or story or how they got to the organization
- Host brown bag lunches or Education hours to have different people teach or share about their expertise or hobbies or professional learnings.
- Have social gatherings, celebrate milestones, give people a chance to get to know one another
2. Share the Pain
In order to create the needed tension that change relieves, it is essential for people in your organization to feel it. Change is threatening when it comes without warning or reason. It is much easier to get buy-in and support for change if your people understand why and support the change. So, share the pain. Tell the story about how things are currently, or what is coming. Tell everyone what is at stake. They need to see it for themselves. They may need to feel the pinch to fully understand the need for change. Don’t hide the tension. When people are invited into the big picture, they are more likely to take ownership and participate in the active support of change.
- Tell stories of the tension experience,
- Share your own learning,
- Have leaders share the pain authentically with their teams
- Invite sharing and ideas for change.
- Talk about what is and what could be
- Talk about values of the organization that help shape response to challenge and change.
3. Root Community in Common Purpose
In order for people to let go of some of the trappings of their current experience, they need to be invested in the mission or core purpose. Feeling safe and secure in what is really important allows space and comfort for letting go. Help your people center themselves on the holy purpose of your organization, the calling of the work or the mission to which you are committed. The more your people can identify, name and articulate the mission and vision as their own—the more ownership they have in the organization’s future success and impact. Thus, they are more willing to let go of what was in the change and embrace what is to come.
- As a leader you can name it, tell stories about it.
- Have people articulate their role in it the mission specifically
- Share organizational values in story and your leadership journey that point to the foundational commitments of the organization
- Host a leadership summit where all teams discuss their role in the bigger mission
- Have leadership team use mission as a litmus test for all new initiatives
- Ensure alignment of all programs with core commitments and mission