There’s a simple reason that change efforts are difficult, and it’s not that people are lazy or resistant or stupid. Change is hard because it disrupts behaviors that are on “autopilot.” If you were forced to start brushing your teeth with your opposite hand, you’d struggle. When you ask your employees to start acting in a new way, they’ll struggle, too. But here are five ways you can ease that struggle:
1. Find your bright spots and clone them. Psychology tells us that we’re wired to look at the negative. In times of change, we tend to obsess about the problems we’re having, but we need to flip that mentality and search out the “bright spots”–the early signs that things are working. Once we find them, we can clone them. Let’s say you’ve launched a new sales process, and the results have been mixed. Two sales reps have doubled their sales, five others are neutral, three others are down, and one is threatening to quit.
Most managers would spend their time dealing with the four struggling reps. Instead you should go study your two “star” reps. What are they doing differently? If you understand how they’re succeeding, you can spread their practices to others. When undertaking any change, ask yourself: What are we doing right now that is working, and how can we do more of it?