Times of disruption foreshadow what the best leaders already know: Change is an inescapable reality of the modern workplace. Change is even more prominent in the world of advancement. But we’re in a unique time in that what people may be dealing with personally has used up their capacity for change in a professional setting.
As you embark on your change management initiatives related to your Constituent Relationship Management (CRM) implementation, you must acknowledge the capacity to change is at an all-time low. Additionally, there’s no compartmentalizing change. Everyone has a limited ability to change—personal as well as professional.
If you’re in a leadership position and feel pressured to move forward, it’s easy to forget these principles leading to the end goal. So, consider these four principles at the forefront of your change management processes.
Effective change management is neither solely top-down nor bottom-up. Everyone in an organization has a contribution to make in co-creating workplace transformation. When it comes to organizational change management, even though the goals are toward the over-arching institutional initiative, fulfilling those goals is a collective of individual people.
You can’t take the people part out of it. Your institution will not achieve its goals unless the individuals that make up the department or business unit move forward and adopt the change.
Remain people-centric by engaging with them as often and genuinely as possible. Remember, people don’t change for policies or procedures, and they don’t change because they’ve been told they have to. Instead, people change for other people—for each other or themselves.
During this unique time, offering grace is key to supporting your team as they manage change. Grace in a professional setting is about showing kindness and compassion even if they might not appreciate it or return the favor.
Here are four ways to exhibit grace as a leader during change management.
- Anticipate and delegate needs: If you are aware of your CRM project or deadline, consider how you may be helpful to get it completed. Then, communicate and delegate those needs accordingly.
- Forgive mistakes: Communicate that an error (within reason) during this time is acceptable.
- Don’t react personally: During change, especially a CRM implementation, people may become frustrated—whether with each other or interdepartmentally. If this happens, don’t react personally. Instead, work to find the root cause of the frustrations. For example, was there a communication breakdown that contributed to the frustration?
- Actively listen: When a team member needs grace, give it freely without questions, expectations, or conditions. Practice active listening—giving full attention to the speaker, empowering them to feel seen and heard.
Now more than ever, communication is critical. But during these times, we need to go beyond that and become keenly aware of constructive communication. Constructive communication preserves a positive relationship between communicators while addressing problems. Poor approaches to communication, on the other hand, can exacerbate problems.
Here are a few ways you can practice constructive communication.
- Use “I” messages instead of “you” messages
- Communicate the entire message
- Don’t use your feelings as weapons
- Use specific language
- Focus on the problem, not the person
- Don’t dwell on past mistakes
- Look out for mixed messages
- Pay attention to body language
During your CRM implementation, you’ll still want to remain results-oriented, but there is no point in moving at a pace where it becomes detrimental to individuals involved. Remember, solitary existence at the finish line is ineffective.
The art of patience should be cultivated and practiced. Self-awareness is an excellent starting point. Focus on these tips for improving your patience during change management.
- Accept what you can and cannot control
- Manage expectations and strive for realistic goals
- Practice kindness (to yourself and others)
- Prioritize tasks and eliminate unnecessary ones
- Strive for balance and positivity in your job
Leaders who take the time to acknowledge their team and meet them where they will be rewarded when their team emerges more resilient, capable, and trusting than they were at the beginning of the change management process.