Often Difficult & Never Easy, but Always an Opportunity.
Change within any organisation is a time of raised emotions. Often the Management Team who are responsible for implementation choose to ignore this in an attempt to put forward the cold business rational behind the decision. Is this the best way to handle this situation for all concerned? Lets consider both perspectives?
As an example, we'll take a situation where a large Life Insurance Company requires a number of redundancies, will close a number of local offices and require some of the remaining staff to change rolls within the business.
Using the above Management approach, staff will know that decisions are imminent and that Management will be discussing options behind closed doors. Eventually, like in the Vatican, white smoke will appear. Department Heads may be informed first and then the news will be delivered to everyone together -"As you will all be aware, due to pressures caused by the current economic environment, and through no fault of the effort of the people in this room, we have been forced to implement a number of changes to protect the business going forward". This may include a presentation detailing the current issues as viewed by Management and an outline of the proposed solution. The meeting then is broken into a number of meetings with each dept head and his/her team. How is it for those people delivering the news? What about the people loosing their jobs? Those being asked to take up different responsibilities and those being asked to move location? Even those who have escaped unscathed will have emotions about it and form opinions.
The emotional side of "Change" will never be avoided, merely postponed. My advice is simple, treat others as you would like to be treated. Have open discussions and involve everyone. Help people prepare for the "Change" and encourage them to engage in the process. Yes, you may loose people through the process. But experience would suggest that if you keep communication lines open, you will tend to loose those who know that their positions are at risk and those who are up for the fight will often rise to the occasion and actually make strong contributions to the ultimate solution. As we know from the post on Leadership, when people contribute to a plan, they feel a stronger sense of ownership and responsibility to delivering that plan. To coin a phrase of Brian Tracey's, if you can -"Eat that Frog", it'll make for a more understanding, creative and cohesive team, before during and after the "Change"