The Fear Of Change … And How To Overcome It

Change.   The very word itself can cause palms to sweat, heart beats to rise and sleepless nights to be on the horizon.

Yet, the retail world is changing faster than ever before, resulting in retailers needing to implement more change than ever before.

You can see the collision coming, can’t you?

Human beings are, to a large degree, somewhat predictable.   With just a bit of study and experience, you can discover just about anything about how humans ‘tick’.

Consider why people fear change:

  • We are creatures of habit, being much more comfortable doing what we know
  • Humans have difficulty incorporating new habits, even ones that will make us feel better.  (look at the challenge of getting people to exercise and eat right)
  • Uncertainty comes with change
  • Change can make us question our competence to succeed
  • Change may mean more work
  • A lot of employees already feel overwhelmed and change just adds to that
  • Depending how change was implemented before, there may be a lack of trust

There’s a lot of justifiable reasons why people fear change.  However, change must happen on an ongoing basis in every organization.

So, how can you get people to buy-in and support change?

  • Involve everyone from the very beginning of the change process.  Don’t spring it on them at the last minute and expect them to receive the change with open arms.
  • All levels of management, including senior management, must be involved in the process.  Scratch that!  They have to lead the change, own it and be visible throughout the change.
  • Learn from past failures.  Get to the root of why there was resistance to change initiatives in the past.  You can learn a lot from failure … more than from success.
  • You can build the best processes and systems, but you need to focus on how to own their hearts.   Spend inordinate amounts of time explaining why the change is happening, how it ties into not just the company vision, but also how it will support their own purpose.
  • Stick with it.   You have to make a commitment to being consistent in your messaging about the change, in supporting it, in being the champion for it.

Yes, change isn’t easy for most.  But, it’s a fundamental requirement for retail success.

So, move past the fear of change and take the steps necessary to get your teams to support your change initiatives.

Blog Authors: Linda

Linda Montalbano

Linda Montalbano is a true retail operator with a history of leading large retail teams to success. If you need a fresh perspective on what's going wrong in your stores, Linda is the one to tell you like it is and come up with a solid game plan to turn things around!

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