“The Chinese word for change is often translated as crisis and opportunity, which I believe offers a more nuanced perspective on change. My advice to those facing business change? Dive in and embrace it fully.” – Gary Gamp

Change! It’s a word that often triggers unwelcome emotions like frustration, fear, and anxiety. While much attention is typically given to strategies for leaders to navigate change smoothly, providing insights and tips for businesses and employees alike, today we’ve chosen to explore a different aspect: the individuals directly impacted by change.

Why not offer some guidance to the employees experiencing change firsthand? Change can paralyse many, primarily due to our fear of the unknown. It’s unsettling not to immediately understand what a change means for us. Lack of communication from a business only exacerbates this uncertainty, potentially leading to increased worry, uncertainty, and a higher likelihood of turnover, particularly among the best talent.

The problem is that businesses often struggle to effectively communicate change — why it’s happening, its potential benefits or drawbacks — in a balanced manner, leaving people to draw their own conclusions. This communication gap mirrors what we witnessed during recent royal debates: a void filled with speculation. And this scenario repeats itself within businesses time and again.

We asked Gary Gamp for advice for those on the receiving end of business change, and he shared his top tips plus some general business advice when approaching change. Over to Gary!

  • Move forward, not backwards

Understanding the core of what’s happening gives you a better chance of comprehending the change and possibly influencing it. Hiding from it often leaves you in the dark, as leadership teams typically include those within their trusted circle first. Therefore, it’s crucial to establish connections.

  • Enhance your personal brand

During times of change, this becomes especially important. Be open-minded, raise your profile, and offer support whenever possible. Reflecting on my career, I found that most of my promotions occurred during periods of change, largely because I volunteered my services and actively engaged in the process.

  • Foster connections

After offering assistance, demonstrate your commitment. Initiate conversations, approach key individuals, and establish meaningful connections. By actively seeking out these connections, you increase the likelihood of being considered for involvement in the change process.

Reflecting on my experience leading change programs, I can offer a few tips from the other side:

  • Embrace change buddies

Identify respected and well-liked colleagues to aid in implementing change. They can serve as beacons of communication.

  • Craft a compelling narrative

Companies often struggle with what to say during times of change, leading to a communication vacuum. A well-balanced message detailing the reasons behind the change, including potential risks and benefits, builds credibility and reduces speculation.

  • Continue providing detailed communication

Avoid leaving employees in the dark. Establish clear narratives and hold team meetings and one-on-one sessions to listen and explain. Involve willing supporters and select change buddies to give them a voice and foster involvement.

In conclusion, it’s essential to remember that:

  • Fear of change often stems from uncertainty about its implications.
  • Change can present opportunities for growth.
  • Effective communication prevents misunderstandings and speculation.
  • The best thing to do during times of change is: put your hand up and get involved. Better to be inside the tent shaping things than outside wondering what’s happening.

We hope our insights and experiences will help both employees and employers in navigating change within their organisations. If you have any questions regarding change management and transitions, feel free to contact us. Our experts, along with our solutions – smart/hands, smart/consult and smart/task – bring a wealth of experience to any challenge. Get in touch

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