Do you remember when Twitter moved from 140 characters to 280?
For many people, the sky was falling! Their beloved platform had changed so significantly they would not know if they would stay or use it anymore.
I am going to admit that I liked the constraint of the 140 characters. Sometimes I miss it, but I also see tweets from people like Amy Fast that go beyond “140” and am thankful that I get to learn from people in a more in-depth way.
Did the same nervousness happen when Facebook created a “wall”? Probably.
Or YouTube went past the ten-minute mark? Maybe. I can’t honestly remember.
What about now that Instagram is looking at letting people post hour long videos? What will that do long-term for the company?
What a lot of tech companies know is that people will complain about change, but eventually, they will be okay. Most times. Snapchat is still struggling after a design change, but a lot of other technologies change and get through that initial complaint stage.
But here is the reality. The best companies know that if they do not evolve, they have no chance of lasting in the long-term.
The point of this post is not to say, “Hey, people will get over change so just go ahead and do it.” Just like staying the same is not always a good thing, neither is changing for the sake of change.
But it is important to realize that even change with the best intentions can cause stress and anxiety for many people. The uncertainty of the future can cause issues in the present.
One of the best leaders I had would talk to me about the backlash she dealt with when changing things up, and she would tell me, “If you know you are doing things for the right reasons, then work with people but stay the course.”
Easier said than done but it is something to remember.
To help people through the “process of change,” here are three critical reminders.
- Ensure you can clearly articulate why the change being implemented benefits the people you serve.
- Don’t surprise people with change! Make them a part of the process. If they have ownership over the journey and the direction, it will be much easier to navigate.
- Remember that YOU were once terrified of moving from something comfortable to an unknown. Even if you knew that change would be better for you, it still didn’t make it easy.
The last point is essential.
There is something that I always remember when dealing with change. There are things that I do today that are my “normal” that I was once terrified to do. For example, the first time I took an Uber I was terrified. Now, it is my norm. This tweet from Carol Nichols is one of my favorite little reminders:
Change is hard but if you keep your focus on who you are serving and why it is crucial to move forward and grow, staying the course will be much more comfortable than if you lose sight of those things.
Source: George Couros