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Managing Change

“Leaders must wake people out of inertia. They must get people excited about something they’ve never seen before, something that does not yet exist.” – Rosabeth Moss Kanter

We know that change raises a lot of questions, and the best way to manage is to provide answers. Providing answers can be easy when we’re working in small groups or with familiar teams; however, things aren’t so simple when responding to an entire agency. 

Why is the change happening? Are there any deadlines or time limits associated with the change? Where can teams find more information? Consider the following as you introduce your change: 

  • Get answers. Some questions will be easy to anticipate. Answer the who, what, when, where, why, and how of the change as you introduce it to the agency. If you run into a question you can’t answer – that’s okay! Be honest and transparent with the information you do have and commit to finding answers for your team. Consider practicing your presentation with other leaders to discover new questions, too. 
  • Repeat your answers. Don’t assume everyone will understand (or remember) all the facets and nuances of the change as you present it. Be prepared to answer the same questions multiple times and send out reminders.  
  • Equip other leaders. Set the agency up for success and strengthen your leadership team by equipping others to manage change at their level. Make sure you aren’t the only one who can answer questions about change. 
  • Equip individuals. Remove roadblocks and have tools ready so everyone can do their part to implement change. Point to a source of truth that everyone can access for help making the transition.  
  • Encourage learning and have patience. Change doesn’t happen overnight, and you can’t expect everyone to get it right on the first try. Prevent problems when you can, address conflict when it arises, help others get un-stuck, and understand that mistakes are learning opportunities.  
  • Lead by example and take your own advice. Show yourself the same grace you show others through this transition, dedicate time to learning, and don’t be afraid to be honest about what is and isn’t working well to implement change in a way that works best for everyone 

Resources from the Enterprise

Enterprise Talent Development (ETD) offers Skills Development Courses on this topic. Review upcoming scheduled courses on the ETD website. 

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