How to Unite Your Team During Times of Change

Change is necessary for a business to grow. As William Craig, Founder and President of WebFX says, customers change, the world changes, technology changes and you change. That means, shifting as a business is often necessary.

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Those changes may feel necessary and exciting to you, but they affect everyone, from the person who stocks the vending machines all the way up to the chief executive. And not everyone will be as ready to jump on board as you. In fact, 2,163 professionals, managers and executives were asked to answer yes or no to the following:

  • People generally like to remain in the status quo.
  • People generally want to reach for something bigger and better.

When the results were broken down, frontline employees were almost evenly split between the two, while 63 percent executives said people want to reach for something bigger and better. This means, employees may not be as ready as you are. You need to step in to motivate and empower them to reach the end goal by uniting them during this time of change.

Rally Around a Common Goal

To get your team to ‘buy in’ to the vision, you need a common goal for everyone to rally around. Joel Peterson, Chairman at JetBlue, is no stranger to change within an organization and in a recent article for Inc., he reminded managers that they needed to inspire their employees to drive change.

Peterson said: “Nothing about the process can be abstract. Communication is key, to identify what team members want personally as well as share what the company as a whole is working toward.”

To heed Peterson’s advice, he shares six steps:

  • Include everyone. This means employees, customers, investors, and anyone who will be affected by this change. Find a goal that everyone can rally behind.
  • Make it real. Put simply, lose the jargon, and make sure that you cite a specific desired outcome.
  • Celebrate your team. Make sure to recognize team members that are going above and beyond, whether it’s for customers or for their coworkers.
  • Renew the vision. As change takes over, it’s not uncommon for workers to lose focus. The best organizations are constantly making sure that what they’re working toward is clear and works for the company.
  • Keep things simple. Pick a desired outcome that your employees will want to work toward. Then establish three goals to meet that will show them they have achieved that outcome.
  • Sacrifice. As a leader, you know you’ll be asking your employees for more during times of change. However, you need to make sure that they are seeing your sacrifice, too. This will help stop any feelings of resentment and unite the team.

Make Communication Easier

Communication is a critical strategy for uniting employees during change. In a recent study conducted by the Center for Creative Leadership, executives were surveyed about their leadership strategies. The surveys revealed the habits of successful change leaders, which reflect the three Cs of change leadership: communicate, collaborate, and commit.

According to the study, the most successful leaders focused on both the ‘what should be achieved’ as well as the ‘why should this be achieved.’ These leaders explained why the change was needed, in addition to connecting it to an organizational value or goal. By explaining their thought processes, they made their teams more likely to unite behind the benefits and value of change.

To leverage this technique, communicate with your team regularly, and encourage them to communicate with one another throughout the change process. Make more time for 1-on-1 meetings, team outings and all-hands updates so everyone is informed and united.

Create More Space for Collaboration

Collaboration is always valuable, and especially so during times of change. Not only does this allow for employees to connect during times of uncertainty, but when team members collaborate, they’ll do a better job in less time than a single person could. As communication experts at Hubgets explain:

  • People have different problem-solving approaches. This means that more people (and more ideas) are more likely to generate a solution than one person.
  • Brainstorming leads to innovation. Teams that collaborate are more likely to innovate, and different perspectives allow ideas to grow and foster.

Times of change are when innovation and problem-solving are most important, and uniting teams in collaborative efforts allows you to facilitate that. As a leader, you can make more space for problem-solving, but encouraging employees to connect more often while providing them with the tools and resources they need to do it, like software, space and time during the day.

Lead Your Team Through Times of Change

Don’t let necessary change tear your team apart. Instead, find a common goal, make communication easier, and encourage collaboration. Not only can this help motivate employees to get on board, but it ensures everyone is innovating and working together to solve the many problems that come with going through organizational change as a united team of one.

About the Author

Jessica Thiefels is a social media coach and organic marketing consultant. She’s been writing for 10 years and you can find her work on more than 500 websites worldwide, including Virgin, Forbes, Business2Community, and more. Follow her on Twitter @JThiefels and connect on LinkedIn.