By Melanie Franklin
Every change manager knows that people affected by change need support. This support needs to come in a range of different formats so that everyone gets what they need. Change doesn’t happen if we leave people behind, unsupported because the support on offers doesn’t work for them.
As an extrovert I know how important it is for me to talk through how I am impacted by change. It is only by talking things through with supportive friends that I can find a way forward and discover my motivation for carrying it out. I have to verbalise my thoughts. As I hear the words I can start to put my thoughts in order.
For others I appreciate how important it is to be given the space, the time and the peace and quiet work out new ways of working. An opportunity to review information, ponder different approaches and devise a conclusion or a hypothesis to be tested. The last thing they want is to be constantly asked how they are feeling.
This lack of sharing mustn’t be interpreted as resistance to change. Their way of working through the change may be less demonstrative than the extroverts but they still need support. However this support needs to be quietly delivered, one to one and not through group sessions.
Different types of support
As I prepare for another week supporting a group through change I am allocating time in my diary to provide various levels of support:
Arrange a quiet coffee one to one with various team members with a specific question to answer. Having a specific aspect of the change to discuss is very important to introverts/reflectors. They certainly don’t want a general chit/chat as this might cause concern that they will be asked to discuss their feelings.
I also want to invite a small group of people who share a gregarious nature to each share their views on our progress. This will be noisy as they will talk over each other and challenge each others point of view. We will need a private area to meet so that the noise doesn’t disturb others. We will also benefit from access to a flip chart or whiteboard.
To ensure I am providing the right support I happily tell people why I am offering them different sessions, and offering them the alternative if I have guessed incorrectly about their preferences.