Skill Level Intermediate
(bright music) - Change is constant and it's essential, but that doesn't necessarily make it easier to deal with. - [Chris] When faced with a move to a new city or a new job or a new team, the first thing we see is what we might lose. Change is the biggest threat to our all important security. - [Jim] But with the right attitude you can turn that threat into opportunity. - [Chris] I don't think it's possible to worry and plan at the same time, so you should choose planning every time. - [Jim] And if you're helping to lead a change, a set of communication strategies and empathy can help. - [Brenda] As a change agent, one of your core responsibilities is to empathize. - [Jim] How to thrive in a world of constant change, that's the subject of this LinkedIn Learning Highlight, a collection of insights from LinkedIn Learning courses. Hi everybody, Jim Hyde here from LinkedIn Learning. Change is often necessary and these days it's pretty much unavoidable. A new boss, a new job, a new company strategy, a new competitor, a new process, there's basically no end to the list of things that can disrupt the status quo and introduce uncertainty. - Although change clearly means opportunity, we usually don't see it like that. When faced with a move to a new city or a new job or a new team, the first thing we see is what we might lose, so fear of loss is always a problem when changes start to happen. - [Jim] That's Chris Croft, he's an author and trainer and the instructor of numerous LinkedIn Learning courses, including one called Handling Workplace Change as an Employee. In his course, Chris details the five reasons why we often dislike change. - The five things that we don't want to lose are number one, security. Security is quite a fundamental human driver and any change means risk. Second is fear of losing our social network. Our friends, knowledge of who to go to if we need help, who we can trust, who we've built up favors and working relationships with. Third is fear of losing our knowledge. This could be technical knowledge or it could be knowledge of the systems, how to get things done, how the place really works. In something like a reorganization or a takeover this could all be lost. And as we move to a knowledge-based economy, this is a pretty big thing to lose. Fourth is fear of losing our power. If things are changing we might lose some of the power that we've built up, either formal power from our job position or informal power. Finally number five is freedom. As a result of power and knowledge and social contacts, you might have built up quite a bit of personal freedom, and now as a result of a new boss or a reorganization, you might lose all that, which would be incredibly annoying, depressing really. - [Jim] Depressing is a good word for it. Another one might be worry. That's a natural part of coping with change and there's a cure for it. Here again, Chris Croft from his course Handling Workplace Change as an Employee. - [Chris] The best cure for worry is planning, and in any situation it's best to have a plan, so that should be your first thought when a change is announced, make a plan. Your plan will probably require a number of options. If this happens we'll do this, if that happens we'll do that. If you can have all the options covered, then you'll feel much better about the change that's coming. - [Jim] And don't just develop a defensive plan. Things like, "If the new changes are awful I'll quit." Also think about how the change could be beneficial to you. - [Chris] Your plan should incorporate positive ideas. What benefits might you get from the situation? What are your goals already and could the change help you to get nearer to them in some way? So when you begin your plan, your starting point should always be what's my objective in this situation? Start with the ideal outcome for you and then think about how you can try to get it or to get near to it. - [Jim] Ultimately a big key to coping with change is to develop what Chris Croft calls mental toughness, in other words, resilience. - Your attitude is the sum of everything that's happened to you up 'til now, all your experiences. And all this experience shows in what you say to yourself, the voice inside your head, which either says, "I can handle this change. "I'm a resilient kind of person who always finds a way "to make the best of situations." Or, "Oh no, this is going to be awful. "What if the worst happens? "I might lose my job and never be able to get another one. "Oh it's going to be terrible." This voice comes from all your formative experiences so far, but you can control it and you can change your thought habits with a little effort. - [Jim] The key to changing those thought habits is to worry less and plan more. - [Chris] I don't think it's possible to worry and plan at the same time, so you should choose planning every time. Basically whatever you focus on becomes more likely to happen because by thinking about things you're telling your brain to work on them and make them happen. If you visualize good future outcomes, you're telling your brain to focus on those and move you towards them, which it will. And focusing on bad future possibilities, which is very easy in times of change, makes them become your direction of travel and you don't want that. - Chris's course also dives into specific examples of change, from restructuring, to new initiatives, to new bosses, to layoffs. But for now, let's focus on change from a different angle. Let's say you're a manager or an executive and your job is to communicate changes to others. The strategies you take as a change leader will have a big impact on how changes are received by the people who have to implement them. - [Gary] I'm Gary A. Bolles. I'm the Chair for the Future of Work at Singularity University, a partner in the boutique strategy consulting firm Charrette, and co-founder of the career site eParachute.com. - [Jim] In his LinkedIn Learning course called Leading Change, Gary details eight skills that are necessary for effectively leading change. At the top of his list is the ability to inspire. - [Gary] Inspire those around you. You need to be able to create a shared vision of the change you want to encourage and what the future will look like once you've all been successful together. If you can tell a compelling story of the future you see, you'll rapidly build your coalition of the willing. And if they're on fire with that vision, they'll work harder, smarter and faster to achieve it. - [Jim] This ability to inspire works hand-in-hand with another skill, the ability to empower. - [Gary] Whenever possible, you want to help people define for themselves how they can use their own skills to achieve the vision that you've infected them with. Don't manage the minutia. - And all along the way, Gary says, is the need to be empathetic. - [Gary] Change is hard, people who resist change may not even know their own motivations. They may just know they feel uncomfortable. Be supportive and resolute that the change still needs to happen. That's a hard balance, but with practice, rather than practicing tough love, you can love and be tough. - Now as you work toward leading a change, you'll find that some people are more enthusiastic or more negative than others. This range of reactions is a variation of something called the support continuum. It's discussed in another LinkedIn Learning course called Leading Your Team Through Change by Mike Derezin, the Vice President of Learning Solutions here at LinkedIn. - [Mike] The support continuum is a simple way to get a pulse check on your team is feeling about a change, an initiative, something new. And it really simply breaks it down into where on five spots on a spectrum is any teammate? So the first spot would be active resistors. These are folks who are actively vocal, they're not on board with your change. The second spot is what we call passive resistor. Unfortunately this is a spot that exists, which is they nod their head in a meeting, they say they're on board, but they don't back it up. And the second you leave the room, they're workin' against it. Third is what we call neutral, they're open, they haven't made up their mind, they could go either way. The fourth spot is what we call a passive supporter. This is someone who's doin' the right things, they're just not vocal about it. And then ultimately you have five is a vocal supporter, which is someone who's obviously not just doin' the right things, but they're actively talking about it. - [Jim] Finding where people are on that support continuum can help you focus your efforts and that isn't a one-time task, Mike says. - [Mike] The support continuum is not a static thing. It's very fluid, it moves around, so it's really important for you as the leader to constantly check the pulse and not assume everyone's still in the same spot as they were a day, a week, a month ago. - [Jim] And what about those resistors? A big key to turning them into supporters is communication. In a course called Communicating in Times of Change, instructors Brenda Bailey-Hughes and Tatiana Kolovou present scenarios that illustrate the challenges behind change and they share communication techniques that can help. - [Brenda] Take a moment now to consider the personalities and the situation of each person you are influencing to change. What is their perception of how they will be affected by the change? What non-verbal cues are they giving you? Have you made an effort to follow up with them after the change announcement? How can you remind yourself to listen without judgment when they share their concerns? Remember as a change agent, one of your core responsibilities is to empathize. - [Jim] There's the e word again, empathy. It's a key component in effectively managing, not only in times of change, but all the time. We looked at change survival strategies from two perspectives here, that of the change leader and of the person being affected by change. There's a reason we did that and it's because change leaders are affected by change too. You may be responsible for leading a team through change, but that change may have originated on a higher floor in the org chart and when you first heard about it, you may have felt the same uncertainties and even resistance as the people you're leading. So let's wrap all this up with a few takeaways. Number one, don't worry, be planning. - [Chris] The best cure for worry is planning. And in any situation it's best to have a plan, so that should be your first thought when a change is announced, make a plan. - [Jim] Number two, if you're leading a change, do so with inspiration. - You need to be able to create a shared vision of the change you want to encourage and what the future will look like once you've all been successful together. - [Jim] Number three, find out where people are on the support continuum. - And I simply ask the team at a meeting, "Where are you on the support continuum? "Are you a one, are you a five?" And the numbers start to come out. And therein lies the beauty of this framework. We're having a real conversation, emotions are largely off the table, and we know where everyone stands. - [Jim] And finally number four. To win over those resistors, communicate effectively and with empathy. - [Brenda] People always have reasons, legitimate reasons, to resist change, so empathy is at the core of change communication. - We've heard highlights from four LinkedIn Learning courses here. Handling Workplace Change as an Employee, Leading Change, Leading Your Team Through Change, and Communicating in Times of Change.