Too often, it seems we underestimate change. By definition, change means to make something different — to change up our routines and remove the things we are comfortable with. Beyond the stress of learning new things, the emotional and mental strain can take its toll. No fear; change is hard on everyone, even if it feels like you are alone in the process.
Psychology plays a major role in change and our organizations in general. Let’s look at a few psychology-related aspects of change that may help you navigate your organization’s new direction in an even better way.
- Tangible/intangible factors: Inc.com explains that tangible factors are things such as structure, strategy and management that can be clearly articulated, while non-tangible factors are things like culture and values that are harder to articulate and capture more of the “heart” of the organization. Remembering what facets of your change plan are tangible/intangible will help you approach that change. Tangible things have more to do with routine, while intangible things may have more emotional attachment.
- Let it feel good: Chief Learning Officer notes that it seems we are often made to feel like we should be angry about change. In TV shows like The Office, every episode that features major organizational change shows chaos and employee resentment. Learning and growing is great for your brain and it is possible to navigate change with feelings of excitement. Even if it is new and maybe a bit uncomfortable, let yourself feel excited.
- Repetition, repetition, repetition: Even the most hardworking, detail-oriented people miss things from time to time, says Inc.com. It is inevitable that as a leader of an organization, you will have to repeat things a few times to make sure your message is heard. Keep in mind that your team is made up of busy people who likely do not intend to ignore you.
- Make it your own: It is okay if you need to adapt your change to better fit your organization. Chief Learning Officer explains that allowing the space for your team to give their input will give them a sense of control in the process, which will increase the likelihood of buy-in.
- Keep everyone engaged with each other: Having strong bonds with your team will without a doubt make it easier to process change. CMS Wire explains that simple things that increase engagement — such as acknowledging successes on any level or checking in with team members on things outside of work — will build the bond between your team and ease the stress of change.
Change is stressful enough. Taking the time to ease the stress and tension of it can make change seem exciting rather than exhausting. Think through these psychological facets of your organizational transformation and you will be in tip-top shape moving forward.