You’d think, that as a contract furniture dealership, we’re accustomed to constant change. That we’re always ready to switch things up, make new spaces, and positioned to make big changes all the time.
You would be wrong.
It’s every bit as challenging for us to create time and space for change as for any work community. Just like any office, we are heads-down at desks, meeting in conference rooms, huddling up in private spaces, and jockeying for a position at the coffeemaker. But as a working showroom, change is a necessary part of our business.
Several times a year, we prepare to move out old looks, bring in new product, and refurbish spaces to reflect the needs and functionality of modern work environments. It’s who we are, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy.
We are preparing now for just such a refresh (#spring2022), so we’re sharing the burkeMICHAEL+ Change Method (TM), our tried and true change methodology to manage change, making the process as fluid and least disruptive as possible. This is the method we rely on once the big decisions are out of the way (product selections, timeline, etc.) and puts things at ground level to keep the project, well, grounded.
Prepare mentally. Once the decision’s been made that change is coming, help the team get settled with it emotionally. People will need space to ‘mourn’ the things they think they’ll miss (“But I like this chair!” “Why do we need a new lobby?”) Host conversations where people can articulate and process their worry and questions. This is an opportunity to assuage anxieties.
Assign a change manager. Whether moving to a new space or preparing for disruption in a current space, workers should have a single point of contact for questions and ask for help. This is a person directly involved with the project, but focused on worker logistics to keep the team productive.
Keep the team updated and involved. As often as the project team meet, an update should go out to impacted employees to make everyone feel informed. burkeMICHAEL+ often works directly with change managers to author emails and provide updates that everyone can understand and refer to. And when it comes time to assign less than happy tasks (like packing up a storage closet), employees will understand the stakes and even volunteer to help. We promise.
Set, and keep, a timeline. It’s easy (especially for us) to decide things are too complicated to move forward. In reality, no time is the perfect time for disruption. Moving a project down the pike will just make it harder to come back to.
Give time to the micro-process. As the contact furniture dealership on site, we’re covering the big stuff. This gives the change manager headspace to think about small line items like ordering lunch in for your team on move in day, internal communications detailing changes to any business processes, and external communications for clients and stakeholders to share the excitement of a change, maybe even an invitation to come see.
Our process in always under review to keep change manageable, and certainly every refresh is different. Every client is different too; we’ve incorporated great ideas into our own process. Come visit us any time and we’ll share even more about ‘how we do it.’
My very best,
Mary Frances Hogan President + Ringmaster burkeMICHAEL+