Managing Change More Efficiently

Joseph Stubblebine
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As a manager, managing change is just as important as managing people. If you do not learn how to introduce change, bring team members on board and create both cohesion and compliance, your team is likely to have difficulties with change. Follow these tips to learn about managing change more efficiently and leading change through every step of its process.

The first step in managing change efficiently is to introduce the change. Sometimes introducing change is as simple as sending out a memo or email to your team members and direct reports. Other times, you need to hold a meeting to discuss the change and the implementation plan. When the change is particularly complicated, you often need to both introduce the change and prepare your team for training or educational programs to teach them how to implement the change.

As you introduce the change, it is important to maintain a positive attitude. If you present the change as something you do not want to do or something that is going to be uncomfortable to implement, you run the risk of losing team member buy-in when you need it most. As a manager, you must always present a positive attitude to your team and direct reports, and this is especially true during the change process.

After the change is introduced, you need to quickly bring team members on board. It is important that every team member or direct report understand how the change affects his or her job role and how to incorporate the change into his or her work.

People are often resistant to change, especially when they have to adjust long-established workloads. Take the time to talk to each team member individually. Consider change strategies such as the ones presented in the book "Switch" by Chip and Dan Heath. "Switch" advises managers to appeal to team members' "riders" and "elephants." The riders are the rational parts of the brain that understand order and logic. The elephants are the emotional parts of the brain that control motivation and action.

Managing change means appealing to both the rider and the elephant. Explain the rationale behind the change and explain how implementing the change improves workflow. This provides both a logical and emotional reason for each team member to make the change and helps the change happen more efficiently.

The last step of the change process involves cohesion and compliance. Cohesion simply means that all team members are performing the change in a cohesive way. Provide feedback early to ensure efficient change without any accidental learned mistakes. Compliance means that all team members are enacting the change and no team members are openly defying the change. If team members defy the change, you must provide immediate feedback and potential discipline. Each team member who is not compliant slows down the efficiency of the change process. However, if you have followed the other steps involved in managing change, non-compliance is not likely to be an issue.

Creating efficient change is a matter of introducing the change with a positive attitude and quickly bringing team members on board. Managing people means managing change, and learning how to handle change efficiently is one of the most important parts of your job as a manager.

(Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles /


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