“How do I know everything will turn out ok?”
That can be a hard question to answer when facing an organizational change. Getting people to buy-in to a positive outcome is not automatic and takes constant attention. Although there are no guarantees in the success of any initiative, a good leader can put some things in place to help build trust that things will be better and that the end goal is achievable.
First, the vision of the end result must be communicated clearly and repeatedly. By focusing more on the future state, some of the current anxiety can be eased. It is also helpful to present a future vision that may be the result of doing nothing. Take the positive and accentuate the possibilities that the change initiative will bring to the organization. Find as many communication methods as possible and get the message out. The best way, face-to-face, should still be enhanced by whatever communication methods are accepted and used in your organization. Although some may rely on electronic means, others may use voicemail or printed newsletters to get the word out. No matter what, the change must be stated in terms that everyone can understand and believe.
Part of the statement of vision must include a personal aspect. “What’s in it for me?” is somewhere within the mind of every person affected by the change. Even if it is not stated by an employee directly, leaders need to ensure that they are making a personal connection to ease the worries and concerns that may be present in the subconscious mind. Remember, an assurance that things will be better after the change process is complete goes far in building the trust needed.
As you go through the change process, provide for and then communicate “small victories” that are being achieved as the push continues toward the ultimate goal. Perhaps it is the landing of a client, the successful changeover of one segment of business, or an individual accomplishment that can serve as a model for others. When progress is happening, it is essential that it be shared and celebrated so that everyone involved can see and believe the progress and build their own confidence that things just might be ok in the end. Again, an individual’s own insecurity can be relaxed when progress or a small victory is evident and acknowledged.
By building trust in a positive outcome, leaders can establish a foundation in the organization for greater changes in the future by using past success as momentum toward the bigger things to come.