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5 Tips to Help Make Changes Happen
By Christian Bisson

Bringing change is always a challenge. The human reflex towards changes is pushing-back due to being scared of the unknown it may bring. This constant resistance could bring a halt to even the best of ideas if they are not shared appropriately with other.

From changing software, to changing process, to anything really, changes are a challenge, especially when dealing with a large team.

Here are a few tips to help with that:

  1. Explain why

    One of the top reasons people are not motivated to change is not knowing why the change is being done in the first place. Not only that, this demotivator is often worsened by giving other limited information because “They don’t need to know everything” which brings frustration and can even damage the trust they have in you.

    Changes have reasons, and people who are affected have a right to know why; let them know and you reduce a lot of resistance right at the start.

  2. Provide relevant information

    First, avoid drowning the others with too much information that they will simply disconnect or run away from whatever you are trying to bring into their lives.

    You may be passionate about what it is and the fact that you can make it happen, but giving everyone so much information about it will just scare them, not to mention the waste of time for you since people will probably not listen/read most of it.

    Be sure to share relevant information that will be useful to them right away. As for all the detailed information, make it easily available somewhere and invite people to refer to it if needed.

  3. Provide easy/accessible support

    If the changes will most likely bring up questions or issues, then it is very important to let everyone know how to ask for help. If they have any roadblocks and no one to help them go forward, then they will abandon and your opportunity to make a change will be lost.

    Make sure it’s clear for everyone who to reach and how when they need something; and make sure support is extra efficient when the change is recent, this is when people are trying to adapt and the support required will be higher.

  4. Ask for feedback

    It’s being done more and more; take the App-store for example and how people can post reviews, and the way it’s considered by the developers afterwards into their applications.

    Feedback, assuming it’s constructive, is valuable information guiding to ways to improve given away for free but usually, it won’t be given if you don’t ask.

    Create surveys, send mails, go talk to people, but go grab the feedback and avoid waiting for it.

  5. Continuous improvement

    Deploying a change is one thing, but maintaining it is equally important. This is what will keep it going, and will make people love it more and more.

    Using the feedback you’ve gathered (see #4), you can analyze the information given and improve from there. In other words, change the change!

    To complement #4 here: if the feedback is ignored, it will create more frustration, make sure you use it!

In conclusion

Changes can be very good, but the way it’s brought to others can be very bad. Assess how you bring changes to your team and identify where you can make it easier for others overall, and it will automatically become easier for you too.

Don’t hesitate to share more tips!

Christian Bisson is a project manager from Montreal, QC, Canada. His PM experience is concentrated in the Internet world, and he helped deliver over a 100 projects over his PM years. You can read more from Christian on his blog.

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