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August 8, 2013 / Brad Squibb

Chaos or opportunity: How is your business handling change?

There’s one thing that’s constant in life, and that is change. Whether personal or professional, life is always evolving. Are you embracing it or letting it hold you back?

Now I’m not going to get up on a motivational soapbox, but for businesses, change is inevitable. How your organization handles it can make the difference between a joyous opportunity and utter chaos.

People are naturally skeptical of change, particularly at work. We all develop habits and when we know what to expect at our jobs, we are more confident we can succeed. When change comes into the picture, it’s natural for employees to feel a little wary.

Whether your business is facing a restructuring, remodel or any number of other changes, communication is key. Change should not just be a discussion between members of upper management. Everyone who is involved in the change should provide input, from the ground up and from the very beginning.

Proactively engaging with employees about any type of change helps them feel like their opinion is valued. And when employees feel valued when planning and implementing change, they more readily accept it wholeheartedly.

Here’s a simple example: It’s time for new desks at your place of employment – would you rather have input on which new desk you’ll work on every day, or just have one selected for you and hope it functions to your preferences? Likely, you’d prefer the first option.

When initiating discussions and communicating change with employees, it’s important to explain why the change is occurring and answer common questions. Explain what you are trying to achieve, how it will affect employees’ jobs, how long it will take to implement the change, and any other benefits people should be aware of.

Whether a big businesses or small startup, organizations that connect upcoming changes to human emotion often receive positive responses from employees. Fast Company’s “Change or Die” article makes this point perfectly. Explain how the change will make employees’ jobs easier, increase job security, encourage innovation, etc. These are the points that really get people excited.

Remember, no matter what, change is going to happen, and when it happens at work, it’s not necessarily a bad thing. With open and proactive communication, everyone will quickly get onboard and your business can continue to evolve and advance.