By Amanda Downs
Change is the new black – How to keep the team onboard
Commercial change is the new black in the world of business, as it is everywhere and it is not going to go away.
Every sales director we talk to is telling us that customers are re-setting the agenda and its driving huge change projects. Previously loyal buyers are making their decisions using online research, AI and automation. They can access global markets like never before and the way that businesses buy and sell is changing forever.
The best leaders are the ones who can take their people, at pace through exponential change and out the other side.
In her book, The People Formula, Jane Sunley gives 10 tips to keep teams engaged and motivated through change. Here’s my take on them, for commercial teams:
- SUPPORT– Offer on-going support and guidance, especially at times of re-structure or customer loss. Be with them when difficult news is given internally
- TARGETS – “ What gets measured gets done” as Peter Drucker said. Agree goals, targets and what a good job looks like. Agree how these will be measured and do it regularly.
- REALISM – show how it will work and describe the steps. Set people up to succeed, this will increase their confidence.
- CLARITY – Ensure people are very clear about what’s expected; both in terms of behaviour and work performance. The skill of explicitness comes in here. Be specific and say it in different ways so everyone gets the message
- TRAINING – Mobilising people through change can get stuck if they don’t know how to do it, Make sure people have the tools and knowledge to become productive as quickly as possible. If they don’t train them as a priority.
- RESPECT – Positive regard is a powerful leadership attribute. Trust people, leaving them to get on with things; show people respect and respect difference in how they handle change
- EXPERIMENT – Change means things have to be done differently, whether its with fewer people, new people or new processes. Allow people to safely try new things (even if they fail).
- COACH – Review progress, give solid, conditional feedback and 121 offer help. Great coaching attention from your boss is a huge motivator.
- CHALLENGE– Offer interesting and stretching challenges that are new as a result of the change. Change is more often that not an opportunity for your people to shine.
- MANAGE– Take care of your team members, keep them in the picture. Change course if you need to, setting them up to progress and contribute. Its easy to spend your life in change meeting and not manage the change