Change is never easy—but it is constant. Often, people resist accepting change for understandable reasons: they weren’t told about a change or the reasoning behind it. They weren’t asked for their input. They resent being asked to do things differently when “the old way” seems to work just fine. It is possible, however, to persuade others to accept change, more quickly and easily than you might expect. Here are some useful strategies for helping others accept change.
If you are either the “change-maker” or the person responsible for implementing a change, let everyone affected by a change—new procedures, new software, new job responsibilities—know about the change as early as possible so they don’t feel blindsided.
Explain in detail how the change will help the department, organization, their own work processes—and careers. Perhaps the change will be a chance to expand a job description, learn new skills, and improve the organization’s bottom line.
Ask for specific critiques—what processes within the change do others feel could be improved—and why? What problems might arise—why, and how might those issues be overcome?
Understand others’ emotions. Are they anxious about doing a good job? Resentful that they didn’t see the change coming? Relieved because they believe the change will make their jobs easier? This knowledge should help you help them to accept the change.
Be a role model. Adopt the new accounting system / marketing messaging / company-wide software yourself. Share your issues and successes with coworkers. Encourage them to adopt the change and offer to help them do so in any way you can.
Praise others’ attempts to implement the change. (Don’t encourage complaints about how they’re behind the curve in accepting the change.) This should improve their outlook and willingness to continue, despite setbacks.
Suggest to those having difficulties with the change that they eat well, get enough sleep and take time for themselves in order to reduce any stress they feel as they adapt to the change.
Remember, change is inevitable. And although change takes time, you can help others accept change by offering them your empathy and enthusiasm.