Merge's Blog

Leading organizational change? Be patient and persistent

My previous strategy on leading successful organizational change was to involve employees early on in the change process.  Today’s tip is a continuation of that idea.  Be patient and persistent with your employees when implementing organizational change.

Be patient and persistent

When employees are faced with change that they perceive as negative, it is absolutely normal for them to go through a stages of denial and anger before they can get to acceptance of the change.  As a leader, it’s important to remember that it takes some people longer to move through denial and anger; in fact, some of your employees will cycle back and forth between denial and anger a few times before they get to acceptance.

The truth is that you simply cannot expect all your employees to jump on the change bandwagon at the same speed.  You will have some early adopters on your team and that is wonderful, but there will be those who take longer, even some stragglers.  You cannot give up on the laggers just because they’re at the back of the line.  Be patient, recognizing that some of your people will take longer than others.

But don’t lose sight of the importance of being persistent.  Make it clear to your employees, firmly and kindly, that opting out is not a choice.  You’re there to answer their questions, to clarify; you welcome them to join the rest of the team in implementing new procedures and processes; you understand that they have reservations and concerns and you’re willing to listen to work out some of the kinks, AS LONG AS THEY clearly understand that the rest of the team is moving forward.

As a leader, understand that organizational change, particularly major change, does not occur overnight.  You have to be patient and persistent in bringing your employees on board.

This tip is second in a series that I began last week, and I have more coming, roughly at the rate of one a week.  But I’d like to hear from you?  Do you agree with my comments here?  Why or why not?

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