Changing policies become utterly useless when the policies are dreadful and only benefit when everyone behaves like a robot. Unfortunately, the people in an organization have differing views and opinions which means that before any change of policy is made, shifting of the mindset become more essential.
"It is not how strong you are, it is how firm your footing is"
The first wrong footing that people tend to think of change as a linear process where if i apply this step, i can proceed to the next, so and forth.
The second wrong footing is to change policy based on theory and not looking at it from at a practical and realistic perspective which usually results in minimal success
The third wrong footing is wanting to shift mindsets and behaviour through coercion and force or worse still, threats if there is non-compliance.
Well, here is the real challenge !
To change something, means that people will be shifted out of their comfort zones! Out of comfort zones translates to high uncertainty and less predictability. The interesting bit is that humans have a strong need for safety and security when they feel threatened under the siege of change. The amount of threat people feel will be based on the intent and impact that the change may have to their lives.
Employees have to take on additional scope of responsibilities due to the lean workforce with no additional benefits. Employee A who is taking on huge projects may feel a greater impact as he/she may not be able to perform well if more responsibilities were added. Whereas, Employee B may feel less impact as he/she may just need to make minor adjustments to his/her work routines to make the change successful. Does this mean that employee B has a better change mindset than employee A?
This is absolutely untrue. Because, we are not comparing an apple to an apple, we are comparing an apple to a pear, there is no point or basis for comparison. Unless both employees begin in the pre-change state with the same amount of workload and the additional workload is equally heavy.
No amount of mindset shift would be enough if the employee is already overworked and overwhelmed as the hygiene factors are not taken care of as illustrated below.
Taking into the assumption that the hygiene factors are well-taken care of, you can then proceed to focus on the mindset of the employee or team members. A mindset can be defined as your collection of thoughts and beliefs that shape your thought habits.
So how can you help to shift mindsets towards leading change? Here are 3 ways in which you can use :
#1 : Show Them The Way
Leaders play a huge role in leading the change for the organization, team members look upon to leaders for direction, guidance and support especially during times of change. Leaving employees by themselves to figure things out is a quick way to lose trust and confidence. Leaders hold the responsibility to "show them the way" like a tour guide, who needs to introduce the place of interest even before reaching, telling tourist (employees) what are things to look out for and how much time for sightseeing.
However, far too many times, leaders leave their employees to figure their "own" way out and park everything under the excuse "employees need to be more self-directed". when a leader adopts this type of mindset, the employees would definitely not be in the "right" mindset to lead the change with the leader
#2 : Break Change Into Small Steps Small steps help people to navigate through change faster as minor adjustments are needed to achieve the milestones. Take for example, riding on a straight path for the next 5 minutes would require little to no adjustment to your grip on the handlebars, but if i tell you that 500 metres ahead there is a hill to overcome. You would most probably brace yourself into a racing position, tighten your grip on the handle bars, peddle harder to use momentum as your ally , all these adjustments will be done probably 100 metres before you reach the hill.
However, what if i told you that 500 metres ahead, there is large slope with an incline of 40 degrees and most people take 10 mins of hard peddling to reach to the top. How would you feel? Would that be too big a step ahead? Would you give up even before trying?
Well, you get what i mean.
Small steps are better than no steps
#3 : Translate The Change Into Their Language Not Yours
In a study where 84 female room attendants working in seven different hotels were measured on physiological health variables affected by exercise. Those in the informed condition were told that the work they do (cleaning hotel rooms) is good exercise and satisfies the Surgeon General’s recommendations for an active lifestyle. After a 4 weeks intervention, compared with the control group, they showed a decrease in weight, blood pressure, body fat, waist-to-hip ratio, and body mass index.
What does this study show?
The consciousness of the benefits of change was actualised by the female room attendants, they believed that the work that they do is considered "good exercise" with them almost hitting the requirement of at last 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily will lead to better health.
When we likened this experience with employees, we need to translate the change into benefits for them rather than against them. Bring the benefits of the change to their consciousness such that it is the first thing on the top of their lists.
Shifting mindset requires time, effort and patience, we have seen too many a times when changes are made in a rash and impulse manner, this results in employee's building a barrier towards change.
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