Understand their fears.
– Meet people in their workplaces (in-person or virtually).
– Ask them what they think about the change.
– Restate their concerns and fears to demonstrate that you’ve heard them.
Managing change is about enabling people to do things differently with the least amount of disruption. Leaving tried and true routines can be more difficult than taking on new ones. Current ways are predictable, comfortable, easy and often linked to past successes. The more threatening the new ways appear, the more people will resist giving up the old ones.
Change management often fails when there’s little understanding of, or empathy for, the people who are changing. Without deep knowledge of the environments in which they work, “ivory tower” assumptions guide change planning and lead to generic and ineffective support programs.
Spending time with people where they work will give you a good sense of their needs. They know their challenges better than you do, and they know what help they need to overcome them. Ask people about their concerns and listen to how they phrase them. This gives you insight into how to support them best as they adopt the change and reduce their resistance to it.
AUDIENCE PROFILE TOOL: What are my audience's communication preferences?
Check that people have accurate information about the change before you ask them about their perspectives. Some don’t.