Springtime is the epitome of change and a new beginning. Trees begin to grow their leaves back, the grass changes to emerald green, and flowers begin to blossom all over the land. Spring cleaning takes place in millions of homes across the nation, and producers begin to plan for the new growing season.
We here at FamilyFarms can’t think of a better time of year to consider the impact change has on the organization and on individuals. Although we must not shy away from making needed changes on the farm, we can minimize their impact and stress if, as leaders, we understand what happens during a time of organization change.
Consider this quote concerning change from the Aquarian Conspiracy: ‘It’s not so much that we’re afraid of change or so in love with the old ways, but it’s that place in between that we fear. …It’s like being between trapezes. It’s Linus when his blanket is in the dryer. There’s nothing to hold on to.”
During a time of organization change it is not uncommon for employees and family members to feel they have been left waiting in the place in-between, that is, the neutral zone of transition and change. It is imperative for leaders to understand common reactions during change and to use questions and strategies to help people work through the stages and their own reactions. Failure to understand and help will result in increased attrition, lost productivity, increased stress, and a good chance that the goals of the change will never ben achieved.
As you continue to grow the farm and move to a business model, you will notice that employees and family members alike will react to changes, both big and small. Just remember that it isn’t the size of the change or the change itself that causes the reaction but, rather, it is their perception of the event. Change is simply something being different from what it was before. Like adjusting to writing the new year on your checks instead of the previous year, change happens. What we can control and manage is our reaction to the change, not the change itself.
Speaking of reactions, people tend to have one or more of these seven common reactions when a meaningful change takes place or is imposed:
*they think about what they have to give up
*they feel alone
*they feel uncertain and awkward
*they feel concerned that they don’t have the resources to succeed
*they feel as though they can only handle so much change
*they’re at different levels of readiness and acceptance
*they revert back to the old way when no one is looking
Consider the following scenario: You have brought in a new employee who will now do the job that someone else did before. Even though the other employee may have complained about the job in the past, or you felt you were doing that employee a favor by taking this job off his or her plate, you may notice that employee holding on to the old tasks, even becoming rigid in his or her job and requests. Perhaps that individual seems a bit down or lost without the old job to do, uncertain about his or her new role in the organization and its value.
Change can create many reactions ranging from negativity, depression, rigidness, rudeness, shortness, and less productivity to high talk time and even celebration. Understand that individuals react to their perception of the change event and the impact it might have on them. Using questions with the employee can help to identify ways to begin anew and define new roles. Some questions to consider when an individual seems to be struggling with change might include the following:
*How do you see this change impacting you?
*What do you stand to lose with this change?
*What concerns you the most about this change?
*What results do you want to avoid during this change?
*What is one thing you could do right now to make this change work better for you?
*How do you see yourself succeeding in this change?
*What do you need to be successful during this change?
As a leader, a time of change requires you to be present in the organization – observing, listening, discussing and problem solving. In the end, during organization change it is the leader’s job to create a healthy environment for moving through the transition.
If you find yourself going through change in your business and need tips to help lead your company effectively through the change, don’t hesitate to call us at 1-877-221-FARM or visit our website. Remember, it is your job as a leader to understand that your employees and family members will not like being suspended between two trapezes unless they have a safety net of trust, understanding, and collaborations suspended steadily underneath them. Start building that safety net now!