Because of my work as a consultant, trainer and coach I deal with change and people’s reactions to it all the time. When a Client decides to work with us, they are recognizing that some sort of change is needed. After all, if they want more effective teams, better Customer Service, higher creativity, more effective training, or more effective leadership in their organizations, something has to become different than it is currently. Change must occur.
Because of this, change is often at the center of our work, and we’ve learned a fair bit about it. In short, here are two of the most important things I have learned about change:
Most people nod their head at the first one when I mention it, but some scratch their head at the second. So let’s start there.
Why Does It Matter?
All of us have parts of our jobs where we need to influence others to think differently or to behave differently – in other words we need to be able to influence change.
Think about it this way.
Whether you are a janitor, salesperson, Customer service professional, trainer, first line supervisor, manager, leader, or C-level executive, are there times when you encounter resistance to your ideas, approaches, and expertise? In these cases, does your job get easier and would the organization benefit when you are successful in getting others to make those changes?
We can, in fact, all be more effective in our work when we better understand how to influence change in others. The scope of the change doesn’t matter. Some of us are proposing or leading big sweeping organizational changes, while others are making small procedure changes. All of us need to support and champion changes, and therefore benefit from greater skills and understanding in this area.
Resistance is a Key
There are many factors or levers to influencing change, but one of the key ones is reflected by my first lesson mentioned above – “people don’t resist change, they resist being changed. "
If we want to help people change, we have to help them decide the change is in their best interest. We have to influence people, not force change upon them.
Here are five things you can do, starting right now, to influence change in others:
With these five approaches you give yourself a better chance to influence others to change. Each of these alone will help you – but taken together they greatly reduce resistance and help others move towards a changed perspective and actions. At a minimum you will have reduced people’s resistance to change. At best they won’t feel they are being changed – they will recognize the change as their own.
Kevin is Chief Potential Officer of The Kevin Eikenberry Group (http://KevinEikenberry.com ), a learning consulting company that helps Clients reach their potential through a variety of training, consulting and speaking services. Kevin publishes Unleash Your Potential, a free weekly ezine designed to provide ideas, tools, techniques and inspiration to enhance your professional skills. Go to http://www.kevineikenberry.com/uypw/index.asp to learn more and subscribe.