The only thing constant in life is change, as the ancient saying goes. So why is change such a struggle for growing companies?
Implementing and adopting a new tool—whether it’s Wrike or any other platform—strikes fear in the hearts of teams everywhere. How long will it take to learn? What if it doesn’t work? Is it really necessary?
That’s why establishing an organizational change management strategy is critical to reaping the full benefits of a new solution.
What Is Change Management?
Change management refers to the way leaders prepare, equip, and support employees to successfully adopt change in a way that ultimately drives desired business goals.
The change management process is a “sequence of steps or activities that a change management team or project leader follow… to drive individual transitions and ensure the project meets its intended outcomes,” according to professional change management firm Prosci.
Unfortunately, change management is easier in theory than in practice.
In his book Quiet Leadership (2007), David Rock reveals the lack of change management success is due to the way people think and react.
"Ordering people to change and then telling them how to do it fires the prefrontal cortex’s hair trigger connection to the amygdala,” he writes. “The more you try to convince people that you’re right and they’re wrong, the more they push back. The brain will try to defend itself from threats.”
Anticipating the needs and concerns of your team before change takes place makes for a smoother transition. We’ve identified common personalities and reactions you’ll encounter when switching to Wrike or any other work management system.
Read on for some tried-and-true best practices to leverage the strengths of each personality type and successfully manage change on your team.
1. The Skeptic
Skeptics are Jedi Masters at asking “why.” They masterfully wield the question, slicing into any proposition or decision to understand its purpose. This persona quickly roots out wastes of time and resources. They can also bring clarity to actions and projects.
But a rudderless Skeptic without proper motive or attitude can be a pessimistic sourpuss. Armed with outdated assumptions or irrelevant evidence, skeptics quickly shoot down new tools, ideas, or methods before they are explored. This negativity can infect your team, preventing them from voicing differing thoughts or new ideas out of fear.
Signs There’s a Skeptic on Your Team
- They tell you everything is fine the way it is, even when things aren’t working efficiently.
- They make assumptions and form opinions about things before trying them.
- They are satisfied with the current level of performance, doubting the team is capable of producing better results.
Change Management Steps for Skeptics
Since the Skeptic is not easily won over, their endorsements or lack thereof holds sway over the team. Nip any negative viewpoints before it can spread.
First, figure out and try to understand the Skeptic’s position. Perhaps another project management tool soured them and demotivates them from trying another one. Seek their opinion of Wrike or whatever new software you want to implement. Ask them to thoroughly evaluate the tool before forming a final opinion. Involve them from the start.
For example, bring them into any decision processes about how work should be done and maintained in Wrike so they feel their insights are valued and put to use. If possible, give them some sort of responsibility early, such as ensuring the entire team completes the training.
Skeptics need some “skin in the game.” The more the Skeptic feels invested, the more they’ll reserve judgement. If you are able to achieve this, a funny thing starts to happen—the Skeptic becomes a fervent defender of Wrike or whichever tool you’ve chosen.
2. The Eager Beaver
On the surface, the Eager Beaver seems to require little, if any, guidance. They enthusiastically see the value of any new tool right away, continually asking for updates and pushing for everything to move into the new system ASAP.
The problem, however, is they’re a little too pumped. There’s a difference between being eager and impulsive. Making too many changes before you fully understand how they work or how they’ll impact others can cause more harm than good. As the old adage goes, “You need to walk before you can run.”
Signs There’s an Eager Beaver on Your Team
- They’re moving projects into Wrike or your new platform without discussing the best ways to organize them.
- They’re breezing through or skipping parts of the training, missing out on key details.
- They’re creating duplicate work and not consulting with the team.
Change Management Principles for Eager Beavers
With the right coaching, the Eager Beaver can be your greatest ally. Use their enthusiasm to get others pumped on the tool and what it makes possible. You’ll want to involve them at the start like the Skeptic.
Sit with them and map out the road to success so they’ll know exactly how an effective Wrike roll-out will work. Reviewing the overall strategy and goals will allow them to see how each piece fits into the whole.
The biggest challenge is reigning in their enthusiasm when it crosses into impulsiveness without crushing it completely. This requires a soft touch and lots of patience.
Stress the need to understand the basics of the software first before diving into the more advanced features. Implement and enforce a system of feedback before any big changes are made, especially in the beginning.
Do your best to not dampen their excitement if they make a few mistakes. Instead, remind them of how their work fits within the whole team and encourage them to take it slow. Once the Eager Beaver understands how their actions can affect others and sees the overall vision, they’ll align their efforts to support the company’s goals.
3. The Free Spirit
For some people, using a project management system is second nature. They’re born planners, deriving comfort and security from having everything documented, planned, and scheduled. That’s not the case with the Free Spirit.
They take a more improvisational approach to life, preferring flexibility and taking things as they come. They chafe with too much process.They feel more comfortable with a quick chat than extensive documentation. While their adaptability to whatever may come is often a welcome strength, their aversion to structure can often lead to gaps in visibility amongst the team and breakdowns in communication.
Signs There’s a Free Spirit on Your Team
- They continually ask if it’s really necessary to document every part of their work.
- They’re hesitant to follow outlined processes.
- They don’t have a clear or repeatable method for accomplishing repeatable tasks.
Change Management Methodology for Free Spirits
While Free Spirits may not always follow convention, their flexibility and calmness in the face of chaos are huge assets as your team transitions to Wrike.
To get Free Spirits on board, give them some autonomy in the tool so they feel a measure of freedom. This does not mean they need access to everything, but a little breathing room at first and then expand from there as they progress. As long as Free Spirits do not feel confined, they will usually be open to working within your suggestions.
It’s important to showcase the pain points that come with not having structure. Many times, they may be completely unaware how their actions may be holding up work or making work more difficult for their team.
Instead of making visibility into work seem like a micromanaging tool, frame it as a way to highlight and praise more of the work they do. The Free Spirit can quickly become a passionate advocate once they learn how Wrike can empower them rather than restrict them.
Four More Personalities for Your Change Management Plan
The Skeptic doesn’t sound familiar? No Eager Beavers or Free Spirits on your team? Don’t worry—we’ve got you covered!
Get change management tools and best practices for four additional personalities when you download our free eBook, Accelerating Change Management: Getting 7 Personalities on Board.