Does change make your organization uncomfortable, maybe even a little scared?  Most employees have low confidence in change when they see it as a threat to their jobs, income or security. The solution … build your employees confidence.

Now let’s talk about the change saboteur in your midst. The saboteur is not just fearful, they’re terrified. Their confidence is threatened. I’ll bet you know who that is in your organization or personal life. That’s because seldom do they hide in the shadows. And as we know, they can sink your change ship before it even leaves the harbor. Yet this is where it gets profitable.  Because handled correctly, THE SABOTEUR CAN BE THE BEST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN TO YOUR ORGANIZATION OR YOU PERSONALLY.

During any major change, 80-85% of your team, whether a co-worker, business associate, relative or friend usually sits on the fence.  They have low confidence. Just imagine what their response will be when the saboteur accepts the change. When the one who put up such a fuss about how it won’t work and how it w crash the ship, turns around and gets on board. The fence sitter feels like everything is going to be okay.  That’s because, at that point, all that low confidence will sail away.

Of course, it won’t be easy. It will take lots of patience, determination, and hard work. But it’s worth it.

Here is my 5 Starr Strategy to capitalize on the change saboteur in your organization or personal life

I use the mnemonic device LEVER.  L – Listen, E – Empathize, V – Validate, E –Educate, R – Refocus.

L for Listen
We all want to be heard, even the grumpiest or toughest amongst us. We want someone to pay attention to us. And sure, you have a message (of change) you need to get across to them.  But, all too often we are guilty of trying to persuade too early and too soon. First, we must build their confidence.  Let’s make sure that before we tell our story, we hear their story. As Steven Covey said, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.”

E for Empathize
Empathy is often confused with sympathy. Sympathy can be defined as mutual or parallel susceptibility to another’s thoughts and feelings. We need to feel empathy.  Empathy is defined as the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings and thoughts of others. Notice, it does not mean being susceptible.  There is a big difference here. We can feel their pain without being sucked into it. For then, we lose our perspective. I see this loss of perspective in both my organizational and individual clients, weekly.

V for Validate
Does this happen to you?  You finally get someone to listen to you.  You pour your heart out and the only response you get is either a bunch of uh-huhs strung together with reallys? and oks, or a lot of head nodding. Is that what you want? Of course not. You want not only to be heard, but you also want to be told that your point, tale of woe, creative idea, or feelings matter. Yes, that you have value. And, for those times that you receive that validation, your confidence grows, you become more open to what the other person has to say. You want to remember this when you talk with the Change Saboteur in your organization or personal life.

E for Educate
Now that you are on somewhat of an equal playing field, it is time to help them know what they don’t know they don’t know. Build their confidence. Isn’t that what education is, learning what you don’t know? And by now, having found out where they are with this, “change thing,” you can fill in the gaps they didn’t even know were missing, which gives them more confidence.  Of course, this implies and assumes you’ve done your homework diligently and you know the 5 W’s of change – WHO – WHAT – WHEN – WHERE – WHY.

R for Refocus 
Now, capitalize on this moment.  We have the great chance to refocus the saboteur in the direction of confident change.  Ask the saboteur, “How do you now see yourself fitting into the picture? What advice would you give now that you have this new information and confidence? Would you like to be a part of our leadership and personal advisor team moving forward, or would you just like to stay behind the scenes?”   My guess is that most, if not all, will want to be an integral part of this new and important change you are either moving forward on or getting ready to undertake.

THE CHANGE SABOTEUR – friend or foe?  You decide.