Organisations are environments of constant growth. How can they continue to improve themselves and their market positions? In most cases, new technology such as Microsoft 365 is the answer to this question. But it’s not enough to just focus on the technical aspects of change; the human aspects are at least equally important. Fortunately, many managers keep this into account during a change process.
How should you as a manager properly start and direct such a change project?
1. “My manager said we’re going to start using Teams because it’ll help us work more efficiently. But then, I heard our Retail Manager say that Teams is only being implemented because we need to adopt something new every once in a while.”
Make sure everyone communicates with one voice and one vision. All managers should be aligned and promote a vision that’s supported throughout the company.
2. “When we switch to the new Teams tool, what will happen with Skype for Business? How will we be expected to plan online meetings?”
Make sure the message is realistic. Show what’s going to change, but also what’ll stay unchanged.
3. “I just heard through the grapevine that a new Microsoft tool will be introduced in our company soon. Do you know anything about this?”
The source from which employees get their information is very important. Big changes should ideally be announced by the organisation’s CEO (sponsor). This way, the CEO shows that they are closely involved in the project.
4. “My manager always uses Planner and To Do, but will anyone ever explain to us how these tools work?”
Big changes should be announced by the top of the hierarchy, but after this, direct supervisors should support their teams. They can do this by being transparent and sharing their knowledge. This way, they’ll put their colleagues at ease.
5. “I really don’t want to save and share my documents with SharePoint. If my colleagues need anything from me, they should just ask. I’ll keep saving my documents on my own hard drive.”
As a direct supervisor, it’s your job to correctly handle emotional reactions. Be patient, listen to your colleagues, ask questions when they’re unwilling to change. Change generates insecurity and anxiety. Inspire your colleagues by finding out what excites or worries them. Find a way to integrate these elements in the story and show appreciation.
6. “It’s nice that we’re migrating to Microsoft 365, but I’ll just continue to share my files through Dropbox. Our IT department blocks sharing files with external parties through OneDrive, but it’s still possible through Dropbox.”
Watch out for silent opposition! Some colleagues won’t openly oppose change, but won’t give any feedback either and will just revert back to their old habits. Be quick to react if this happens and check if everyone understands the message. Everyone filters the influx of communication their own way, which may cause people to interpret a message differently or even forget it altogether.
7. “The project team meets with other organisations who have also migrated to Teams. During these meetings, they discuss what works for them and what to watch out for.”
Discuss best practices from organisations who have already completed a change project. Dare to admit that there will be obstacles along the way. And above all: be honest.
8. “If the company wants us to use all these new tools, like Teams, they should at least take some time during our weekly meetings to properly explain this project.”
Show your colleagues that you’re making time for them. Talk about what’s going on in the team and what people are struggling with during the change project. It’s hard to encourage open communication when you’re keeping your own doors closed.
9. “We always have to change, but do our superiors even realise how much time and effort we have to invest in this?”
Give your colleagues the recognition they need. You can do this by mentioning a few positive elements you’ve noticed in your next communication or by showing appreciation for certain colleagues.
10. “Typical. At the start of a large project, the CEO showers us with motivating announcements. But once we’ve started, we never hear from him again. We hope things will be different during this Teams project.”
When you go out to watch a sports game, you stay until the end. The same goes for a change project. Managers are often very involved at the start of a project, only to disappear after the first steps have been taken – but it’s very important for managers to stay in the picture during and even after a project. After all, success is based on engagement, ownership and striving to achieve every business goal.
Developing a good change project takes time, knowledge and a well-thought-out strategy. Our skilled experts are ready to guide your organisation through every change project. Do you want to know more about our approach?
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