How to be more successful managing change
- a London UK managment training course & leadership development programme
called Skills with People?
How to master of the art of opening people's minds when they resist change
Is this the right change management course for you?
Yes, if any of the following sound like you;-
- When organisational change is necessary and inevitable I get very impatient when people resist it.
- I wish other people would be more positive and accept that in the long run the risks of standing still far outweigh the risks of changing.
- I do my best to reason with people and urge them to think more positively, but the more I argue the more entrenched they seem to be. I sometimes wonder if it's worth the effort.
- I dare not allow people to get away with negativity. If only people were more open-minded then change, transition and transformation within the organisation would be far easier to manage.
- In my experience the biggest challenge to organisational change is overcoming people's resistance. I try to reason with people, but this gets me into arguments, and it doesn't seem to make them any more receptive. I might be more successful at persuading people to change if I knew how to get them to keep their minds open.
Meet the trainers - An introduction video to our soft skills training course (6:32 minutes)
What you'll take away from this change management training
- Become a better listener.
- A clear understanding of why it is human nature to resist change, and you'll know exactly how to counteract this and keep their minds open in times of change (a crucial management skill).
- A very effective method of overcoming people’s resistance to change and winning their enthusiastic cooperation. As a project manager handling people's resistance without argument is the key to managing change smoothly.
- Developing your emotional intelligence - a key change management, resilience and leadership skill.
- Confidently win people's cooperation to your way of thinking and get them to accept change. You can't manage change and carry people with you through transition or transformation in the workplace if you don't know how to handle and overcome their resistance to change.
- Be more confident and skilful at running difficult meetings. Practice a way of running meetings and leading through change that will enable you to keep stakeholders engaged and motivated. Be more successful at facilitating decision making and managing change.
- You'll develop a much more successful way of opening people's minds, and to keep people motivated when they are uncooperative and resistant to change.
- You'll become a master of the art of listening with empathy. This is a crucial though under-developed leadership skill and is particularly relevant for the management of change. You'll be able to use it succesfully not just with individuals but also with groups of people in meetings.
A practical guide - What this change management training can do for you
Why it is human nature to resist change, transition and transformation
Change often threatens the very things on which we feel our security and peace of mind depend, and the normal response to such a threat is fear. When we experience fear we become defensive and resistant to change and transformation. It's an instinct, and it kicks in even if the threat is more imagined than real. The trouble is that when our minds are awash with fear we have a strong tendency to behave irrationally and resist change even when it's necessary or beneficial.
How to turn people from fear into an open and rational state of mind
The key to encouraging people into a more receptive frame of mind is to invite them to express their fears, and to be patient while they do so. This enables them to let off steam. As they let off steam they naturally calm down and become more open-minded. This approach goes against the normal impulse to try to answer people's fears as quckly as possible. The reason why it works is because people's minds are opened more by how you listen to them than by what you tell them. We call it listening with empathy. Motivating people through listening with empathy is one of the two crucial skills you'll develop on this change management course. The companion skill is speaking assertively. With these two skills you'll have a very powerful way of handling a wide variety of difficult situations.
Why emotional intelligence is such a powerful leaderhsip skill for facilitating organisational change
People become irrational when their emotions are aroused. We are more successful in life and at work if we are aware of, can admit, and can talk about feelings. However, this goes against the grain because many of us have got used to suppress feelings. Because our feelings can sometime be painful we learnt to protect ourselves (and others) by denying them with phrases like, "There, there, don't cry", "Pull yourself together", "Let's be rational - let's not get emotional". We learnt that if we express a bad feeling the worse we feel, so we learnt to stop expressing it so we can feel better.
But ignoring or suppressing emotions is a mistake. Bottling up feelings makes us tense, defensive, unreasonable, close-minded, rigid and inhibited. The more we are able to can admit and express feelings and let off steam the more we are able to be relaxed, reasonable, open-minded, flexible and uninhibited. When we learn to talk about feelings in a safe way it enables us to connect better with others and recover the full use of our rational faculties. Empathy and assertiveness are the skills that help us do this.
The practical emotional intelligence you'll develop on this training course (also offered as a coaching programme for those taking the course remotely) will teach you the leadership skills you need to become much more successful at carrying people with you. These communication skills have a long track record of helping leaders, managers and professionals develop the ability to speak in an inspiring and motivational way. You'll be much more successful at facilitating organisational change more smoothly.
What is empathy, and why is it an under-developed art?
Listening with empathy is focusing your attention on what's going on in the mind of the other person, particularly, what they're afraid of. Instead of trying to answer their fears, simply encouraging them to get their fears off their chest, to let off steam. When they let off steam they usually calm down and become more open-minded and receptive to change.
The reason why this way of responding to people is an under-developed art is that what most of us want to do is rush in and give answers and reassurance. Learning to listen with empathy means holding back on the natural impulse to give answers and using more patience in allowing people to express their fears, because that's what unlocks their minds. That's why people are persuaded much more by how we listen to them than by what we tell them. It's the way we listen to them that makes them trust us even more than what we tell them.
Why listening with empathy is so crucial for successfully managing change
There's a powerful biological reason why listening with empathy is such an important leadership skill and so crucial for the management of change. It has to do with how people instinctively react when they perceive a threat, for example when they're experiencing conflict or disagreement or in times of change. They instinctlvely become tense and defensive in order to respond to the threat. This reaction is driven by fear. It's the outcome of millions of years of evolution. People are usually unaware of this and so have little conscious control over it.
The crucial question is can we listen to them in a way that helps them be aware of, admit and express their underlying fears. If so they'll be able to let off steam, revert to a more rational and calmer state of mind. This'll make them more relaxed, undefensive, reasonable, cooperative, open-minded, flexible and willing to change. If not, they'll remain in a fight-or-flight state of mind, irrational, tense, defensive, unreasonable, uncooperative, closed-minded and unwilling to change. The fastest way to help them be aware of, admit and express their fears is our empathy. That's why it is such a valuable aid in the management of change.
How to handle a people resisting change in a meeting
Here's a suggestion about how to run a team meeting where people are likely to resist change. A very large number of our clients have found this method has been not only fun to use but also very effective in overcoming people's resistance to change within their organisations during "Change meetings" or "Managing change meetings". This method solves the problem of how to handle resistance to change in a room full of people each with a different concern. You can't empathise with them all at once, so how then can you encourage them to express their concerns and yet prevent the meeting from turning into chaos? It needs both a firm hand and a clear structure. Using this structure for running such a meeting it will enable you not only to listen with empathy to each person who has a concern, but also to keep firm control. It’s also good fun running a meeting this way, not only for you but also for the other members of the meeting.
Here's a tried and tested change management tool - a plan for dealing with resistance to change in a meeting:-
- First, announce that the purpose of the meeting is to tell the people present about a change, and that your aim is to persuade them to go willingly along with it.
- Next, say you're expecting them to have questions and concerns about it, and you want them to express these as strongly as they can even if they have to interrupt you. Tell them that every single concerns and questions will be written up on the flipchart, and that you won't try to give answers until they're satisfied you've fully understood each concern.
- Listen patiently to each question. Don't try to answer it at this stage. Just try to show your understanding of the concern behind it. Write each question on the flip chart only when you're sure the person who asked it feels understood and taken seriously.
- Finally address all the questions and concerns on the flip-chart as honestly and helpfully as you can, and only cross them off the list when the people who raised them are satisfied with the answer.
We suggest you introduce the meeting along the lines below (adapting the words as needed):-
- "Thank you for attending this meeting. My purpose is to tell you (or consult you, or help you decide) about X. This is an emotive/controversial subject within our organisation. I’m sure you will have questions and concerns about it, and I want to hear them all. So this is how I’m going to run the meeting ..."
- "Instead of waiting until I’ve finished talking, I want you to interrupt me whenever you have a question or a concern. Yes, it’s quite okay for you to interrupt me. Instead of trying to answer you right away, I will first check that I understand your point and then I’ll put in on the flip chart, where it will stay until you’re satisfied it’s been answered. The flip chart will be our agenda for this meeting."
- "Now, before I tell you about X, let’s start building the agenda in the flip chart with your immediate questions and concerns. Who would like to start? …"
- "Is that all for the time being? Now I’ll talk, but remember, please don’t sit nursing a question or a concern. Call it out. Interrupt me as soon as it comes into your mind."
How to calm people down in a meeting - make them more receptive to change
The crucial skill you need for running this managing change meeting successfully is empathy in response to each of their comments, questions and concerns. It is difficult to avoid being drawn into trying to give answers, particularly when what they say sounds negative. If, for example you're introducing a change in working methods to your team, and one of them says:-
- "Whose stupid idea is it to make this change, anyway?"
The person who asked this question obviously feels bad. But instead of being aware of it and admitting it, their feelings errupt as an aggressive question. They sound very negative, and your heart sinks because they're threatening to create a bad atmosphere in the meeting. But actually, even though they sometimes expresses themselves negatively, they're a highly motivated member of the team. Behind their aggressive question is a genuine concern. On the Skills with People course we'll give you a lot of coaching in how to respond with empathy to these kinds of questions, in the way shown in the example below:-
- THEM: Whose stupid idea is it to make this change, anyway?
- YOU (empathy): You obviously feel bad about the change. I imagine it’s because you need to be convinced there’s a good reason for it before agreeing to it.
- THEM (surprised at being handled so positively and calmly): We’ve had a lot of change lately. It makes it very hard to keep our standards up.
- YOU (more empathy): And that’s why you don’t want to do it unless you’re convinced there’s a real need for it.
- THEM (lets off steam): Exactly! (Your empathy has won his trust, as well as the trust of all the others.)
- YOU: Thank you. I hope by the end of this meeting you'll be convinced. (You write, “Why is it necessary?” on the flip chart with his initials beside it.) This won’t be crossed off until you’re convinced…. Who’s next?
The others now feel encouraged to speak up frankly about their concerns. The atmosphere in the meeting rapidly improves. Everyone feels good. Their mood is now for you and for the change you want them to agree to. Their confidence in you has been given an enormous boost. Below are crucial guidelines and some helpful things to do and don’t do when running this meeting:-
Dos and don’ts when running a managing change meeting
- Do listen with empathy to every single question or comment, in order to try to find the concern behind it. Keep reflecting back until each person speaking feels understood.
- Do write it on the flip chart, as near as possible in the words of the person raising it, before listening to the next concern or question. The flip chart is the meeting’s agenda.
- Do have faith that behind any negative, hostile or confused question or comment is a genuine concern that deserves your respect and understanding. If you can keep this up people will be very impressed and you will have a very positive effect on the meeting.
- Do be assertive in keeping a firm hand on the meeting. Stick strictly to your plan.
- Don’t be drawn into trying to answer a question or concern while you are drawing up the agenda of concerns, no matter how tempting. It will undermine your control.
- Don’t take part in or allow any discussion until all questions and concerns have been captured. This, too, will undermine the meeting plan.
- Don’t cross any item off the agenda until it has been dealt with to the satisfaction of the person who raised it. This will make people feel safe a give them a sense of control.
Testimonials for this change management training
Feedback from the managers of participants who took this training
- "He is a lot more confident. At the last meeting of our business unit leaders he fully led the meeting and dealt with people very well."
- Feedback from participant's boss - a Prudential director
- "To what extend do I think his training need has been satisfied? Completely. I have been approached by 4 peers to tell me that they could see a very positive change in his behaviour."
- Feedback from participant's boss - a Philips Semiconductors director
FREE exploratory coaching session. Become really good at this. CLICK HERE and get started now
- If so, you can have a FREE exploratory coaching session over the phone or video call.
- It'll give you a foretaste of what you can get from the course.
- You make no commitment to proceed beyond this until you're sure this training is relevant for you.
- You don't have to be based in the UK to receive this training. The one-to-one coaching can be extremely effective over video calls.
What will this session do for you?
In this FREE video coaching session a trained expert will aim to;-
- gently explore what you're looking for help with. Learning challenging new skills is much easier when you feel safe, so we like to create an un-pressured atmosphere,
- diagnose your particular training needs,
- answer any questions,
- give you something practical you can use right away that'll help you handle a difficult situation more successfully at work. We'll teach you what to say, and how to say it to achieve the results you want.
How to accept this offer
- Simply ring Alex Gould on +44 (0)1727 847 889 for a preliminary chat and to arrange a session,
- or, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
- or, if you'd like us to contact you please fill out the form below and we'll contact you and to arrange a convenient time for your free exploratory coaching session:-