Overcoming fear of change

As business owners we are often eager to improve the operations of our business. Unfortunately, we often meet resistance from employees. This presents a challenge to the owner who wishes to improve his business. If employees will not make changes in their behavior, improvements are very difficult.

The key to overcoming the employee’s fear of change is to create an incentive for them. While money is not the only incentive, it is usually a powerful motivator. If the desired changes will result in increased profits, a bonus system to share those additional profits with employees can help them overcome their fears.

Enlisting employees in the improvement process can also help. When an owner acts like a benevolent dictator and imposes change on the employees, they often resist. However, if the employees are involved in the process of identifying and planning the needed changes–through a process like Total Quality Meetings–they are much more likely to “buy in”.

Involving employees can begin by simply asking them what improvements they would like to see. Ask them what frustrations they experience in their job. The answers may surprise you, and prove enlightening. Too often owners view the business only from their perspective. Employees however, often have a much different perspective.

Owners typically embrace change much more readily than employees. Consequently, the owner must address the concerns and fears of his employees. He must help them see the benefits of change. If he can make them willing participants the changes will be far more effective.

At the same time, the owner must set realistic expectations regarding the speed and extent of change. In this regard, slow but steady change is ultimately more effective than rapid change that is quickly abandoned.

Employees are a part of your team. If you want them to perform at their best, help them help you. If you work together they will be much more willing to help you build the business you want to own.

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