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How to make change in the workplace less daunting

Sarah Watson, chief strategy officer of BBH N.Y.Sarah Watson, chief strategy officer of BBH N.Y.
Sarah Watson, chief strategy officer of BBH N.Y.

MPW Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: How do you lead a team during a time of transition? is written by Sarah Watson, chief strategy officer of BBH N.Y.

Change is here to stay. We face it every day in the workplace. Whether it’s merging divisions, developing new products or exploring new initiatives, dealing with change is inevitable. Change in the workplace can lead to great opportunities, but as a leader, your success will boil down to one thing in particular: motivating your employee’s to get on board. Here’s how:

Make the future sound exciting
When leading a transition, it’s important to create a powerful agenda that everyone feels a part of. This may mean creating your objectives together, as a team, instead of merely dictating how things should be done. For example, telling your employees they are being forced to merge with a certain division has an entirely different impact than describing the transition as a new way the entire organization will interact. Frame the challenge as something inspiring and empowering. Explain why your employees should see this time as an exciting opportunity. Focus on the big picture, beyond the day–to–day worries.

Stay connected
Whenever your company is going through a major transition, there will inevitably be good and bad days. Maintaining the momentum and keeping spirits high is crucial. Gather the team frequently for updates, and keep the channels of communication open and informal.

Have a plan
Change is scary. Ease anxieties by providing an outline of what’s to come in the future. Perhaps the transition will happen over the course of months or years; break down the stages so they are easily understood. Then, move full speed ahead. There is nothing better than the feeling that we are the creators of our own destiny, and nothing more destructive than feeling disempowered. Running toward the challenge with an optimistic outlook could be the difference between success and failure.

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