Can we just stop talking about change as though there is an end? As though, if we can just get through this current change, everything will settle down?

It won’t happen. We know that intuitively. We might wish for change to halt and give us a break, but does it ever? Have you noticed that everything you communicate to employees has to do with change:

  • New benefits
  • Different strategy
  • New leaders
  • The market
I could go on, but you get what I mean with just four bullets. We fuss over employees who don’t accept change more readily. “Why won’t they just do what we need them to do?” “Why are they so threatened and worried?” It’s in our nature to avoid change and seek the status quo.
What if we took advantage of every change to reinforce the idea that change is constant, and learning to deal productively with it might be the most important business skill you could develop? If we started using this different message with employees, rather than focusing them on the end game, we might get startling results.
Change the mindset by creating dialog that uses different words. Here are some examples of what I mean:
  • Instead of talking about when “integration is scheduled to be complete,” what about engaging employees in discussion about “how can we continue the great business process improvement work spawned by integration to improve other parts of the organization?”
  • Instead of just spoon-feeding how-tos on a new software tool and giving deadlines for migration action steps, how about creating a wiki where new users can share techniques they discover and things they love about the new tool?
  • Instead of talking to employees about “until the market settles down,” what about conducting a web-based town hall that solicits ideas for how the organization can streamline processes and be more innovative all the time, not just in tough times?
We have to help our employees to embrace change, relax into ambiguity, and be flexible. Look at the language you use to determine if it is supporting this mindset shift. The first minds you’ll have to change are those of the executives, who may be used to happy words and a focus on the end game. Every change is just another opportunity to get people more comfortable with the idea that there is another one a-comin’.