A hairy situation, a lesson in change communication

It’s true that the only constant in life is change, and even the most mundane change can throw the steadiest of people a curve. Case in point: yesterday I learned my hair guy of 15 years is moving on. My luscious locks are only slightly longer than my chrome dome husband’s, and as such, require constant tending and pruning by a very skilled stylist. This news, both shocking and sudden, could knock me off my fashion game. There’s a change communication lesson in here somewhere, I just know it.

What’s happening with my stylist is a good example of what happens in organizations every day. Someone decides to make a change for whatever reason, and there’s a ripple effect. Maybe the people or the system we’ve come to rely upon won’t be there anymore, and we’ll have to build a new relationship with someone else, or learn how to use some new technology. Will the new person be an idiot? Will the replacement technology suck? We don’t know, but often we jump to those conclusions because our lizard brain takes over and we get all twitchy and untrusting. As my pal Phil says, change makes people act funny, and if ever there was a statement of the obvious, this is it.

In times of change, it’s critical for leaders to get in front of the change and share the real story, even when it’s covered in warts and imperfections. Nature abhors a vacuum, and without someone there to fill it with the truth, colleagues fill it with tales of idiot new guys and sucky technology. All they need are the facts, and a little understanding and empathy from their leaders. All I need is a new stylist. In this case only, I think it might be easier for you than it will be for me…