As organisations evolve and try their hardest to adapt to a constant shift in social, econimic, and environmental sustainability, most will face a combination of challenges and triumphs that impact the way the company operates and have a significant impact on its stakeholders.
Change is inevitable—no organisation exists in a void—and your customers expect you to respond to shifts in the outside world. A recent survey by Sprout Social, for example, indicates that 2/3 consumers want their brands to take a stance on social and economic issues. This is a far cry from a more traditionally conservative atmosphere, which encouraged businesses to keep their heads down and stay out of the political fray.
In order to remain competitive in today’s market, organisations must be willing to constantly encourage and drive change within their environment. Employees with these organisations, at any level, should not be exempt.
As an individual working at the front line, you want to be sure that you drive behaviour change in a highly meaningful way that will help shape the future of your organisation and better your workplace.
Not infrequently, we hear from clients who express their frustration when we speak about ways to institute positive change in customer experiences.
Effective strategies for encouraging behaviour change from within
Many employees feel that they are unable to effectively drive change themselves. Communication, however, is key, both with upper-level management and with members of your team. Get a better idea of what everyone wants from the organisation, then look for ways to help meet those demands and goals.
When you want to see change within your organisation, start with changing yourself. This may include a variety of small changes:
Shift your attitude
If you show resistance to every change that leadership suggests, it will be difficult to achieve your ultimate goals. Instead, shift your attitude. Become more positive about change. This may mean that you need to become more comfortable with ambiguity, or that you need to shift your thinking to become more comfortable with the unknown. Keep in mind that changes made by leadership may not reflect the changes that you would make within your organisation. On the other hand, you may find that adapting to those changes creates a positive shift in the organisation, rather than a negative one. Approach change as though it is positive first, rather than waiting for something to go wrong.
Ask for training
Be the first person in your department to ask for training on new technology. Get comfortable with new strategies or processes, then volunteer information about them to others. The more you know about the changes taking place within your organisation, the better you can adapt to those changes. You may also want to ask for key leadership training to help you move into a new position or to help you better influence those around you.
Do your research
In many cases, it’s easier to assume that a change will be negative than it is to accept that change positively or even get to know more about it. Before making assumptions, take the time to learn more about the proposed changes and how they can impact your company. Sometimes, that means sitting back and waiting before deciding how you will respond, since all the necessary information may not yet be available.
Exert your influence
As an employee without a leadership title, you may feel that it’s difficult to create a positive influence within others within your organisation. The lack of a leadership title, however, does not necessarily mean that you can’t provide the right level of influence. Try some of these strategies.
Speak up positively about change
Be on the front lines, getting excited about the latest changes within your organisation and how you plan to take advantage of them. Often, the naysayers are the ones who are heard most clearly throughout the organisation. By speaking up as a positive advocate for change, including making your voice heard even when it’s not the popular opinion, you may create a positive culture shift.
Communicate with your peers
Are there people around you who are struggling with changes in your organisation? Do you know that there is a certain level of discontent about a specific policy or change?Open the doors to communication. Take the time to talk to those individuals. You may not be able to change everyone’s opinion, but you can certainly exert your influence–and that simple step can substantially change the way others react to what’s going on in your organisation. You may have more influence than you realize.
Communicate positively with those in authority
When you are a positive advocate for change, others within the organisation will hear your voice and become more likely to listen to what you have to say. Take the time to communicate with them. Suggest positive ways to adapt to new situations, whether that means increasing training or offering a new approach to a potential problem. In many cases, they’ll take note of your positive attitude and listen to your suggestions, which can improve conditions for everyone even in the midst of uncertainty.
Final thoughts: Keep it up
Becoming a positive voice for change can present many unique challenges. You may struggle to accept changes within your organisation, or you may find that changes don’t seem to point in the direction you would prefer. With these steps, however, you can learn to positively address change and even shift the way your entire department reacts to new challenges along the way.
In order to create change, it’s necessary to not only communicate those needed changes a single time, but to make them an ongoing conversation. Big changes don’t happen overnight. In many cases, habits are too deeply built-in, and resistance is chronic. That makes ongoing communication a cornerstone of changing attitudes and practices throughout your organisation.