How to Keep Pace With Employees When Leading Change

Are you way ahead of your employees when it comes to adopting change? It’s easy to understand why and how this happens. Change leaders typically come on board early, create & confirm the business case and sign off on the workplan long before employee engagement starts. As a leader, it’s so easy to forget that you’ve been on board with the change and have had time to process it; however, you’re 7 steps down the road and employees are starting at Step 1!

Here are some tips for making sure that you are keeping pace with your employees (and not running at your own):

  1. Recognize that you are way ahead of them and that you have had time to process the change (and they haven’t)
  2. Make an effective “case for change” that resonates with your employees (not just your leadership team). Make sure you avoid these common pitfalls:
    • Recycling messages that resonate with the Board or the Steering Committee instead of what employees care about
    • Being overly optimistic and/or promising results that you can’t guarantee
    • Falling back on sanitized messages and “corporate speak” vs. keeping it short and simple
    • Assuming that your one big communication event will do all the work
  3. Communicate early, often, and repeat, repeat, repeat. Embed your Case for Change in your Town Halls, give leaders short talking points to convey at staff meetings, and use multiple methods to convey your messages. And make sure your core message:
    • Starts with “why”
    • Defines what’s happening when and define who the change impacts
    • Answers the question, “What does this mean to ME?”
    • Includes you want people to know and do differently
    • Relates to work gets done today – contrasting what’s different
    • Gives people a call to action as a takeaway

Remember, keeping pace with employees and meeting them where they are will allow you to lead your change effectively and keep the doors of communication open throughout your change effort.

Sheri Browning is a Partner at PeopleResults. You can reach her at or on Twitter @sbPResults.