5 Best Practices to Facilitate Change and Introduce New Team Behaviors
At the start of a new project you may do things wrong. This is the period of low morale for most people. But there is nothing to be embarrassed about as many of us do it wrong until we learn how to do it right.
Sometimes, despite all the efforts being done, only little progress is being made. If you are told you’re making progress it will motivate you. Even if it’s only a matter of learning what doesn’t work, that’s still an important form of progress.
1. Honor all attempts… and failures
In order to change, you should adopt your behavior from honoring only successes to honoring all attempts at progress. Team members need to hear that their attempts to learn the new way of doing things are seen and appreciated.
2. Honor all successes
People also like to know their efforts in any endeavor are being honored with progress towards a goal. During the first stages of change, when you are learning to do new things, there is very little progress. If you observe someone learn a new system you will see them make error after error after error. At the beginning of the learning spiral, the progress comes slowly, and you will make very few correct choices and many errors.
3. Honor all questions
If people ask questions during the change, it means they are demonstrating the interest in the change process by seeking out additional information. Allocate some time to answer these questions, no matter how busy you are. It will not take many instances of management not being around to answer questions, for people to get the message that management does not really care about the successful implementation of the change. Even, if that was not the message you were willing to communicate.
4. Pay attention to those in denial
Retraction can be defined as the continued use of solutions, once appropriate to the task, no longer useful due to the introduction of the new element. It takes time for people to change old habits. Punishing people, because they learned the old lessons well, is not exactly a good lesson for them to learn new ones.
5. Recognize those who resist
Sometimes team members will ask ‘Why is this change necessary?’ This is not an indication of a bad behavior, nor is it an indicator of someone who is out to obstruct the change. The question why are we introducing change is a legitimate question, by someone who is protective of the status quo they’ve already invested in. You should not mistake natural, normal, healthy resistance, as an incendiary attempt to destroy what you’re trying to accomplish. Sometimes, a question is just a question.