Brokers know that change is inevitable if they are going to stay competitive and enjoy continued success. Given technology advances so quickly, without change office systems can quickly become dated, making recruitment and retention - the cornerstone of any real estate business - a challenge. But a technology change to a key system can be disruptive and overwhelming for those involved. How do you lead the organization through it to mitigate resistance and instead inspire support and excitement?
According to the Forbes Coaches Council*, there are 15 common mistakes leaders make when managing change that should be avoided:
- Not Developing A Clear Communication Plan For Before, During And After Change
- Ignoring The Root Causes Of Employee Resistance
- Not Asking For Or Incorporating Team Feedback
- Dictating Change, Rather Than Educating People About It
- Inconsistent Leadership Involvement
- Oversimplifying The Change
- Expecting Immediate Acceptance Of Change
- Downplaying The Impact Of The Change
- Assuming Employees Know What to Do
- Failing To Actively Participate In The Change
- Neglecting To Involve Those Impacted By The Change
- Not Communicating The Change In A Way That Speaks To Your Team's Different Personalities
- Trying To Make A Big Change All At Once
- Not Helping Others Envision The Possibilities
- Not Outlining And Supporting The Internal Transitional Steps
Central to all of the above is good communication. According to Linda and Dean Anderson, Organization Transformation Experts and Founders of Being First Inc.**, it is important that change communication be two-way, and ideally, face-to-face. Simply providing information in a “tell” fashion is ineffective, i.e. "We are changing our back office software on <this date> for <these reasons>". Instead, it requires creating a means for people to react, discuss and assess the implications on them and the organization. When questions are asked, it is important to answer them without delay. People need to understand the impact on them personally before they will commit or be motivated. Change management can only truly succeed when participants are fully informed and aligned. Are yours?
Assess if your current plan for change is at risk of any of the above listed mistakes and what you can do now to mitigate them. Choosing a good technology partner is just one way to do this Be sure to ask prospective technology candidates about their approach to change management. Do they offer support before, during and after the transition? If so, to what extent? Be sure to ask for client references and ask them about their transition experience. The due diligence is worthwhile.