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How Do You Motivate Your Team Through Stages of Change?

HubSpot Video

May 27, 2021

In this webinar, Engage by Cell CEO and host Dave Asheim shared the webinar stage with Alice Ferris, CFRE, ACFRE and Founding Partner of GoalBusters Consulting. Alice is a nationally recognized speaker with 30 years of experience in strategic and development planning, board and organizational training, executive leadership coaching, individual giving and grant proposal evaluations, and more. 

Using real-world examples, Alice discussed:

  • Change as the “new normal”
  • Stages of change
  • Personality archetypes you will encounter
  • Strategies to motivate your team

View Slides

Here are some of the highlights from Alice’s presentation:

Types of Change

You can usually put change one of three categories: (1) Reactive change: this is totally unpredictable. This is the stuff that is typically external to you. Reactive change is a kind of emergency response, (2) Responsive change: it's still external to you, but it can be something that you see coming, and (3) Planned change: this is scheduled, or proactive changes. Something you have planned for, because you think it's good for your company. 

The Human Response to Change

Understanding the human response is important for you to be able to guide people through change. People are generally not intentionally trying to be difficult. For the most part, people are motivated by things from their own lens of experience. Thinking about things from other people's perspectives is something that's critical for someone who's successful in leading change. 

Archetypes of People You May Deal With

  • The Legacy Staffer: This is the person who's been there forever, who's always done it “this way.” The negative element of a legacy staffer is that they don't want to change. They’re happy with the way things are going. But a positive aspect of a legacy staffer is that they know what has happened in the organization before and so they potentially can help you with your change process.
  • The Favorite Pet: This is the person who is used to being the golden child and is used to being frankly, really successful. Your change may introduce new things to the mix that they're not comfortable with, or isn't their area of expertise. You may be threatening their position as the favorite pet.
  • Go With The Flow Person: This is the person who it basically doesn't matter what you throw at them. But sometimes the challenge with this person is that they lack conviction. They won't necessarily stick with a change. 
  • The Scaredy Cat: This is the person who just doesn't like risk, and they are afraid of what they don't know. You’ll really need to articulate what the advantages are of the change, to help minimize the fear of risk and the fear of change. 
  • The Eeyore: This person is generally negative about everything. This person may actually be supportive of your change, but they don't bring a level of optimism to their life period, let alone to a change process.
  • The Idea Generator: This person is constantly coming up with new ideas and constantly flitting from idea to idea. You need to keep them in check and make sure that they don't go off on every single item. 
  • The Change Leader: The Change Leader can be positive or negative. This is someone you may need to win over because they are a leader within the organization or within the culture.

Who Are Your Allies?

You have your allies, you have your adversaries, and you have those that are ambivalent or ambiguous. Allies are those people in your alliance. Your adversaries just don't like your change, or they may not like you. But in between, you have this really big chunk, about 60%, who are ambivalent or ambiguous. So when you're thinking about these different categories, you need to think about reinforcing your allies.

Impact on Productivity

I don't care what kind of change it is, your productivity as a team will drop when you're going through a change process. You will go through a period of good productivity. Then there will be a productivity dip because you're not doing things the way you were before. You then go into this neutral zone where people are finding a new routine, learning new tools and putting the new change into place. Then at some point, things catch, and that's when you have new beginnings. Your goal in this model is to minimize the neutral zone.

Motivating Your Team

When you're talking about motivating people through change, start by not only understanding and acknowledging what their fears might be, but also understanding and acknowledging what drives them. 

Setting Priorities

What is the top priority when you're looking at the change that you are trying to implement? That is the must do. It's the “I will throw myself on the sword for this one change.” You have the must-do tier, the should-do tier and the nice-to-do tier. If you have a clear goal of the one top priority, then you can guide your team through the things that have to happen. 

Being Flexible

Some things are not going to be negotiable, but you can adjust the milestones, you can adjust the timeline, and you potentially can drop some things that aren't quite as important.

Three Final Tips

  • Listen: You need to listen to your team empathically so that you can identify fears and identify motivations.
  • Giving feedback and celebrating quick wins: As you go through this process, reinforce those things that are going well. 
  • Focus on those big goals: Focus on that top priority, and those must-dos so that you can keep people moving towards that goal.


How Do You Motivate Your Team Through Stages of Change?

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