Change - The People Side

ArLyne Diamond's Profile

I was at a meeting the other day where a group of people were concerned about noise, traffic, bicycle paths and walkways due to a new arena.  As I listened I realized  that the real concern was because there were changes that they would have to make and those changes – as they considered them – created anxiety and annoyance.

Change is inevitable.  Also inevitable is the blame some people attribute to the change based on the information they receive.

In the workplace we have the opportunity to take the time to help people understand the benefits any change will have for them.  They should be given the time to learn the new tasks foisted upon them.  Reassurance and lots of small group discussion will help alleviate the anxiety – and enable people to make their own positive contributions to making the change even better.

Yet, sometimes there is a “rotten apple” in the group – someone so sour and negative that he or she scares others into believing that the change will harm them forever. I was involved in a case where overwhelming fear was the reaction to some simple changes.

The changes were a move into a bigger and more attractive set of offices. Instead of seeing this as an opportunity to have more space, one department was frightened because the “rotten apple” managed to convince his co-workers that their group would be left out of the move and their employment was going to be terminated.

It wasn’t true.  But fearing change was easy for them and it led to assuming the worst. Again, communication and openness is the best option for getting beyond people's fears. Shine a light!

To learn more about managing the people side of change check out the course "Change Management: The People Side".