Change, good or bad? It’s all about your approach

By Kevin Ward, Conatus Financing Solutions
The world is always changing and often it brings about some wonderful things that we all love. So, why is it that in general, we tend to fear it and complain about it, and how do we combat those feelings when change is required?
Published in Suffolk Director Magazine Spring | Summer 2023

Sharing Experience : Conatus Financing Solutions

When working with our clients, we often encounter situations where a business is either in the middle of a big change, or about to embark on one.  As someone approaching such situations with fresh eyes, it can be fascinating to watch. You typically find that there are some keen advocates within the business who are desperately positive and who struggle to understand anyone else being reluctant. But usually, the majority are fearful, worried, and sceptical.

Inevitably there is a lot of frustration. The advocates are frustrated that others don’t seem to understand why the change needs to happen.  The sceptics can’t see past how things have always been done, and the worriers are stressing that they might not be able to cope post the proposed change.  That frustration leads to negative feelings, often meaning people fall out and tension builds.  Overall, if a change process starts this way, it rarely ends up going well in the short term.

What could you do differently then?

One possible consideration is simply to look at how a change could be presented in a different way.  If you’re proposing the change, do you have empathy with how others may be feeling and have you thought about the impact it may have on them and the people around them?  If you can personally see nothing but positives, a worthwhile exercise that could help you, is to step back and put yourself in their shoes, considering every aspect and then writing down all the possible negatives you think others may perceive of the change.   

Once you have done this, you can look to share the proposed change, but using communication that carefully considers and takes into account the positives, whilst recognising and negating the potential negatives. This gives you a greater chance of gaining support from the majority of parties involved.  If you still have resistance, asking for immediate feedback is good, as is giving people the option to raise concerns on a one-to-one, or confidential basis.  Acknowledging their concerns, and acting on them if appropriate, is only going to be a positive action.

Ultimately though, change is inevitable, and, on some occasions, the communication may just have to be that we may not like this change, but we have to just crack on and make the best of it.  If that’s the case, be honest, tell it as it is and ask for everyone to support the change.

So be honest, be positive, be empathetic and play to strengths, as well as playing on individual’s goals and ambitions. Be brave yourself and help others to be brave in stepping outside their comfort zone. 

Often you will then find that change is all a big anti-climax and even more surprisingly, something you can enjoy and benefit from.

Change, good or bad? It’s all about your approach 1

Change, good or bad? It’s all about your approach 5

 Kevin Ward is Director at Conatus Financing Solutions

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