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Including staff in decision-making may make change easier to handle

  • Published Wednesday, July 3, 2013, at 4:02 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, July 3, 2013, at 4:02 p.m.

Have you ever been told you were to attend a workshop, or some event or activity aimed at changing something? Did the news come in a company e-mail, newsletter or memo? Did your supervisor simply tell you when and where to go?

We have all been a part of change where we work. It’s possible you were included, and even more likely you were not included in how that change would take place. Every individual reacts to such information in his or her own way. How staff react depends on who they are and the context. In our work at Next Element, one common thread of many change initiatives is the stress caused by how leadership has communicated the change.

Often times leadership is exposed to an idea and will make a decision to implement an initiative for a department, or possibly even company-wide training. From there it becomes a mandate, and that is when the stress on the system (your people) begins to increase.

What would happen if leadership would instead include a variety of stakeholders in the decision-making before implementing the change? If people had an opportunity to voice their opinion, to hear their supervisors’ opinions, to get more information, and be a part of the team, how might that change your initiative? If they were allowed time to reflect on the possibilities, react to what was coming or help make it happen, and to think about how they be impacted, how might the change effort be affected?

Leaders have good ideas, good vision and they rely on their people every day. In starting any change effort it is a wise use of time and resources to rely on your people. When this level of collaboration becomes common in your organization, everyone is responsible and accountable. You have a shared goal, shared excitement about implementation, and your initiative will be successful.

Nate Regier, Ph.D., is a founding owner of Next Element Consulting, a leadership development and communication training firm in Newton. Reach Regier at www.next-element.com.

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