How to Manage Change When Your Team is New

How to Manage Change When Your Team is New

Change management is already a difficult, time-consuming process—and it’s even more challenging when your team is new. But when the membership of a team is rapidly evolving, you can still bring new members on board and manage change.

How? With evaluations that will prepare your team for change while at the same time present a clear yardstick of what success looks like.

Problem: Evaluating capabilities

Solution: Make culture part of the mission

Your project may be coming in on time and on budget, which as we know, are key measures of success. But you still need to make your team capable of weathering change. You can help this by getting your new employees on board with your organizational culture–by helping them understand the mission and their own roles.

You can evaluate how members of your team work among themselves and with others, assess their personal motivation and work styles, and inventory the team’s talents. With this new understanding, you can help the team understand each other’s roles and their importance.

In this way, the new recruits can be brought into the culture quickly.

Problem: Overcoming negative attitudes towards change

Solution: Implement team-based training to change attitudes

Team members who have been with the organization for a while may be reluctant to change or are victims of poorly communicated change initiatives. Negativity can then infect your new team members and derail the change process. How can you turn this around and implement positive change?

Accept that you won’t be able to convert everyone. Instead, instill the message that change is coming and convert your distrustful team members into change agents. Set up training and development, then have your long-standing members involved in planning and working with new team members to bring them on board.

Flexibility, collegiality, and dependability are crucial to change management. For that reason, you should focus your team on building their interpersonal tools, their time management, and their collaborative skills. Doing the hard work of evaluating these skills will help you create greater understanding and buy-in and build collaborative spirit.

Problem: Getting ahead of change

Solution: Plan for, and build in, change management skills

The clearest and most successful approach is to arm your team with the skills to manage change ahead of time. That way, when the inevitable problems occur, your team can be ready.

Focus team-building initiatives on enhancing an employee’s ability to adapt to new situations. Open communication, creating an environment where employees are comfortable with risk, and identify where the disenchanted could derail new initiatives. These are skills that can be practiced, built upon, and evaluated.

Communicate these needs to your team members and let them practice without fear of reprisal. Recognize your team not only for tasks they complete, but also for how productively they achieve their goals, for example, developing training for new members or delivering their tasks ahead of time or on budget. Keep your team’s focus on strategy and objectives, communicate clearly how and when the team will be evaluated, and encourage some risk taking.

Soon you and your team will become comfortable with each other, with the work…and with your future, successful projects.

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