Positive Change Management

Let’s face it. In most tasting rooms, the more things change, the more they stay the same. In a typical tasting room, there are always issues that require change management – labor cuts, changes in organizational structure or management, team turnover, changes to goals, pay or commission structure, and so on.

So, how do we implement change effectively? Change requires skill and sensitivity. It’s tricky because simply imposing the new change doesn’t work; it assumes that people’s personal needs are completely aligned with the organization, or that there is no need for alignment. It also assumes people want the type of change the organization deems appropriate for them. The truth is change is only successful when employees actually engage and buy into it.

Here are 8 ideas to help engage your staff and generate involvement in order to manage positive change:

  1. Understand the Fear. Asking people to make significant behavioral changes usually creates fear. Underestimating the fear response and potential resistance is the most consistent mistake made by those introducing change.
  2. Consider the Group’s Perspective. Approach the group from the team members’ perspective and understand what they have to lose – or gain.
  3. Build Trust. Concentrate on team building and open/honest communications. Authentic participation in the process, with many opportunities to raise issues of concern, will help keep a group open to the possibility of significant change.
  4. Avoid Manipulating. Don’t pretend to listen to the group and consider their concerns, if you’ve already made your decision. Invite staff to help figure out how to solve a challenge.
  5. Encourage Group Ownership. Employees who are involved in the planning will often suggest changes that improve the original plan because they’re the ones most affected. Employees are much more likely to support a new set of ideas which they have had a key role in shaping.
  6. Actions vs. Words. Employees will burn out on changes that are announced but not successfully implemented. One well-executed change is worth far more than multiple failed new programs.
  7. Reward New Behaviors Early. Don’t wait for things to change completely before providing rewards. Recognize employees for doing things right and reinforce any significant movement in the right direction.
  8. Manage the Myths and Realities. Don’t underestimate the power of myths and rumors! Address them promptly, directly and with understanding.

Work with your team and ensure everyone understands the changes and their role in it. Don’t get discouraged – there is an Eeyore in every group, but these tools can help mitigate the pessimistic person in the crowd. Embrace the change and find a silver lining; remember, your attitude affects your team.