How to respond to conversations about change

Ruby Kolesky & Laura-Jane Booker
Ruby Kolesky & Laura-Jane Booker | March 23, 2021
How to respond to conversations about change

Organizations are always changing, so people have to be ready for change, and they need their leaders to guide them through it.

As a people leader, you may not have been involved in planning the change before. A big part of what Joyous does is change the way organizations change - by helping leaders play a more active role in the process.

We intentionally design conversation starters that are easy for people to talk about. They don't bruise egos, and they encourage people to reflect on their own thoughts and personal experiences. Joyous conversations help teams uncover ways to take positive actions now, while also bringing information to light for future consideration.

Joyous conversation starters center around the ADKAR change management model which help leaders navigate their people through a change. Our introduction to ADKAR conversations goes into even more detail on the ways our conversations are designed to empower leaders and teams.

Here's how you could use Joyous to approach some common conversation scenarios.

Your team member makes a suggestion that you can easily action

Be proactive and encourage the next step. The suggestion might be worth discussing further. Or if it's clear and you agree with it, why not act immediately? You don't have to commit to acting if you are uncertain about it, but continue the conversation until you are sure one way or another. Encouraging experiments during change is another way to figure out if a suggestion will be good for your team or not.


Someone makes a good suggestion, but other people need to be involved

Acknowledge the idea and let them know you'll speak to the relevant people. Be sure to let them know if you get any further information. Because the conversations are running in Joyous, business leaders will see the suggestion in a report if it's one of the common themes.


Someone has a question or says something and you just don't know how to respond

Acknowledge the question! Let them know that you're also unsure and that you'll come back to them with more information. Talk to the change management leaders and your leaders about it, then go back to the conversation and provide clarity. Optionally, ask the change team or your leader to join the conversation in Joyous, so you can see how they approach it.


Someone doesn't want to be involved in the change

This is an opportunity to ask curious questions to help understand why the person is feeling this way. You may not be able to change their mind, but try to understand where they are coming from. It's also worth suggesting a face to face catch up if possible. Above all, avoid trying to make someone feel like they are being forced into change.


Someone expresses negative thoughts or fears about the change

Use a relationship-building statement and empathize with their fears. (Page 12 of our leader conversation toolkit provides some examples of relationship-building statements you might use). Reassurance also goes a long way. Reassure people that the organization has everyone's best interests at heart and that you are all on the journey together.


Although change can be daunting it’s important to remember: you are not alone. While all people leaders should feel empowered to act and make improvements, you should also lean on change leaders and direct leaders for support as often as you need to. With everyone working together on transformation projects, it's much easier to change the way organizations change - for the better.