5 highly effective ways of guiding your staff through change

guiding your staff through change

5 highly effective ways of guiding your staff through change

Whenever a business undergoes significant changes there are challenges. One of the biggest recurring challenges we have seen relates to people. How can you bring your people along with you to make the change that is required in your business?

Here are five things to remember when guiding your team through an overhaul of your business. These are based on a conversation between STAFFLINK CIO Joel Davis and renowned Real Estate trainer and innovator Lee Woodward.


1) Remember, Real Estate is not easy

Whether Sales or Property Management, the first thing to remember is that the job is not easy. The current process nationally is causing burnout, people to leave the industry, they’re working way too many hours and trying to remember too many things.

But it is unrealistic to expect an overnight transition from the way that things have done to the way you need to do it moving forward.

Your staff can’t just stop what they’re doing and start doing it a new way. That transition period is not easy, that’s not straightforward.

It can be complex, difficult and sometimes it can be frustrating. Making sure that you have a high degree of understanding and appreciation for that is really critical. Because if you lose that ability to connect with people, that ability to be able to understand what they’re going through and empathise with that, that could potentially put you on the outer.

In our experience, the greater your level of connection with the people that you’re working with, the greater your influence is.


2) Staff buy-in is crucial

staff buy in

You know the end-goal, and what your staff need to do to get them there. But if you just jumped into that, you’re not allowing them to understand why they need to do it. A great technique to get them is buy-in is to ask questions like “what is the current process of doing things?” You’re not trying to do anything but understand what the current situation is.

And then you’re having them explain the broken process. Rarely, if ever, will you be told that everything is perfect and working great.

So let them go through the current situation, then ask them a questions like ‘could you describe the current listed to settled process, and how does that process actually work? Do the agents email to find out at the sign boards gone? Do they email to find out if the photos have been done? So I imagine there’s a lot of email going on. I can only imagine that puts a lot of pressure on the administration staff that the responding to requests then actually doing work. Would that be correct?

If you want to get something across, find out the current situation because then they are sharing with you, this is how it’s currently working, and how does everyone feel about that?

When asking the staff to describe the current situation, avoid words/phrases like go wrong, or falls apart. Instead ask “what have been some of the challenges with that?” 

Another method of getting staff to buy-in to the project is to ask questions like “if we had a perfect scenario now, what would that look like?”


3) Avoid calling something easy

Don’t oversimplify a challenge, or exaggerate its easiness. Lee Woodward tells the story of how this can create resistance in the person you are talking to.

“I was in a recent software session, we were changing from one platform to another, and the person giving the session kept saying “it’s really easy, it’s really easy,” and I’m sitting there thinking, this ain’t easy at all. You keep telling me it’s really simple so I feel like an idiot not getting it. I’m actually shutting down. So nothing is really easy for anyone if they don’t understand it and if we can’t explain it, we don’t understand it. ”

Remember, our outcome is we want them to say it’s really easy. But when we say it can create resistance. A new piece of technology may seem easy on day 100, but rarely does on day 1.


4) Be careful with word choice

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When guiding your staff through change, the words you use carry significance and meaning beyond your own meaning and definition. We recommend avoiding expressions like “I’m really proud of you”.

“It can sound pretty condescending. Proud is something that your parents are…not that a colleague or boss is.”

Try instead “guys that was really impressive how you’ve been able to get through this rollout. Really well done, congratulations. Proud is not something that we should be using in dialogue, I think it does blur those lines.”
We always want to be friendly with our colleagues, but not necessarily friends.

Why not? Well, when you do need to have the inevitable difficult conversations, it can make that much harder.


5) Learn how to be “beautifully cold”

Sometimes you’ve got to know how to be beautifully cold. Sometimes your colleagues might start whinging about their boss or their principal. Be very, very careful about getting into those conversations. It’s very easy to get caught in a trap where we can mistakenly give the person who is ‘whinging’ the impression that you are siding with them.

Try instead saying something like “Look, I can’t help you with that. I’m obviously here to assist you, but I don’t buy into things that go on in an office every day.”


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