How to Bring Change to Your Company the Right WayToo many organizational change initiatives are “self-sabotaged” when leaders suddenly introduce a new program, while forgetting that others haven’t been part of the process and do not understand the reasons for change.

Why, then, are leaders surprised by how much resistance new change generates?

In an article for Fast Company, Ken Blanchard and Scott Blanchard outline six “predictable and sequential concerns people have when they are asked to change.”

They suggest that by addressing these concerns, “leaders can improve the odds of success for their next change initiative.”

Do Not Say the Change is Good

“People do not want to be told the change is good until they understand it.”

Instead, share information “as completely as possible,” thus avoiding the confusion and rumors that becomes rife “in the absence of clear, factual communication."

Be prepared to answer these questions when you are leading the way through a change: What is the change? Why is it needed? What is wrong with the way things are now?

Address Employees’ Personal Concerns When you Bring Change to Your Company

In the face of change, the first question everyone asks is either, “What is in it for me?” or “How does it affect me?”

Other variations, as noted by Ken Blanchard and Scott Blanchard, include: “What does this change mean? Will I win or lose? Will I look good? Will I have to learn new skills? Can I do it?”

People naturally worry “their existing personal and organizational commitments are being threatened.”

In the face of change, we first focus on our fears, on what we are going to lose before thinking about what we might gain.

Answer the Tough Questions

Once employees’ personal concerns are addressed, they then want to know how to get technical assistance and solutions to problems arising from the change initiative. Prepare to answer questions like: “What do I do first, second, third? How do I manage all the details? What happens if it does not work as planned?”

Promote the Change

As the process continues, different concerns arise. If you have successfully addressed previous questions, now people become interested “in the change’s relevance and payoff.”

This is the time to “share early wins and proof that change is making a positive difference.

Practice Smart Collaboration

Momentum starts to build. Employees get on board with the change initiative — and want to bring their own ideas into the mix. Look for ways people can collaborate smartly to keep things moving forward.

Refine for Success

At this stage, you will hear questions such as, “How can we improve on our original idea? How do we make the change even better?”

Be prepared to “take advantage of new opportunities for organizational improvement that often come to the surface at this stage.”

As Scott Blanchard and Ken Blanchard note, “People who help to plan the battle rarely battle the plan.”

It may seem like a lot of time spent hand-holding your employees, but everyone needs to process information and address personal concerns before they can get on board with the change initiative.

How do you introduce change within your organization?