Embracing the Wind of Change

Change is necessary for organizations to succeed but can be a daunting concept for both business leaders and employees.

Change can be daunting. It is, many times, easier to stick to the status quo rather than make an effort to bring about a change, irrespective of how necessary this is.Yet, unless organizations make changes, they will lose their competitive edge and in the end lose their customers. Savvy business leaders know that unless they constantly make improvements to their business, they will negatively impact their bottom line.

Despite their best intentions, organizations regularly find it difficult to institute even small changes, let alone company-wide ones. One of the most important processes is getting employees on board and helping them understand the importance, notes Jim Haudan, CEO and chairman of Root Inc. This is not easy, especially since, as we highlighted in this article, the majority of employees in the United States are not engaged. "Going through the motions negatively impacts the ability to change," Haudan notes.

Thus, one of the first steps that organizations need to take when embarking on a project to bring change is to take steps to make sure that employees are knowledgeable of what's going to happen, how it will impact them and the organization, and also why such change is imperative for the organization and themselves. In order to overcome this fear, business leaders should make sure they invest enough resources into informing employees about the change and their role in it. "Create a new mental model of what the future looks like," Haudan says.

Haudan notes that while fear of the unknown is often one of the contributing factors to reluctance to change, another is apprehension that individuals won't be valued in the future. Therefore, business leaders need to make it a priority to make sure that employees feel valued. "Leaders have a special role in leading people through change," he says.

Ultimately, business leaders also need to make sure that employees are comfortable taking risks. Employees might be reluctant to embrace change because they fear they might not be able to handle it and their value within the company will diminish. "It all boils down to making sure that employees feel valued and want to change," he notes.

Finally, Haudan underlines that failure is a part of change and organizations need to be prepared to encounter stumbling blocks. "Make sure failures are small, fast, and cheap rather than big, slow, and expensive."