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How to Manage Change By Fostering Stability

In the current competitive landscape, the adage "If you’re not growing, you’re dying" holds center stage. Managers, striving to foster growth, are often under immense pressure to implement changes passed down from leadership. Unfortunately, this mindset that change is necessary has put a burden on managers and their team members. Living in a state of constant change takes a toll on employee engagement, leading to a host of negative impacts. 

Ashley Goodall, author of The Problem With Change, questions whether living in this state of continuous change is truly helping create effective workplaces. In our conversation, he shared insights on the essence of change along with strategies to guide managers towards overcoming these challenges by fostering an environment of stability.

Manage Change by Not Changing

Research has shown that the vast majority of change efforts fail to deliver the results they were aiming to achieve. This means the effort, time, and resources invested were not necessarily worth it. As Ashley succinctly said, change does not equal improvement. 

Instead of always searching for the newer, better, more innovative or efficient approach, we can allow our teams to stick with what’s working. Instituting a discerning approach to change, where the bar for initiating a change is very high, managers can avoid undue stress, disruption and lost productivity that comes with constantly shifting processes, implementing new technologies, or pivoting strategies. 

Similarly, Ashley encourages managers and leaders to admit when a change initiative hasn’t led to a better situation than existed before. While it might be enticing to pivot, note that this is just another change that your employees need to work through. Sometimes, returning to what was working well enough in the past is actually a better strategy than continuing to try something else.

Teams Are the Center of Stability

Teams offer stability in various forms. For starters, we build relationships with people we can count on. We get to know each of their diverse talents and abilities which allow us to both contribute our strengths and benefit from the skills of others. This collective synergy not only enhances our capabilities but also shields us from the uncertainties of change. 

Additionally, being part of a team offers individuals a sense of belonging and purpose. It helps define our identity, clarifies our roles in contributing to the collective goals, and generates familiarity with work processes. These elements enhance the experience of consistency. 

Ashley notes that team leaders play a pivotal role in fostering this stability, not just in reaction to change but also in preparation for it. Effectively managing stability is an ongoing process because you never know when a change will come about.

Manage Emotions with Team Rituals

The importance of team rituals transcends the bounds of building culture, maintaining cohesion and boosting morale. Rituals are instrumental in handling emotions, providing a routine that supports emotional well-being. Strong team rituals help us manage the stress often associated with change. 

For example, Ashley shared a story about a team that had a daily practice of saying good morning and good night to each other every day in the office. When the company shifted to remote work during the pandemic, team members felt disoriented and alone. By instituting a Slack channel specifically for saying hello and goodbye, the team was able to continue this practice that had become part of their emotional start and end to the workday. 

Team rituals like this serve as anchors for cohesion and morale. They provide a sense of continuity and connection within a team. Recognizing, nurturing, and safeguarding these traditions are critical steps for managers to ensure a robust and consistent team culture.

In conclusion, the essence of fostering stability lies in a manager's ability to set a high bar for when change is necessary and intentionally cultivate team rituals and relationships. By doing so, they can successfully navigate the challenges of change, enhance employee engagement, and model exemplary leadership.

Listen to the entire episode HERE to learn more about navigating change with greater stability.

Keep up with Ashley Goodall

- Grab a copy of Ashley’s book The Problem with Change here

- Visit Ashley’s website for more information here

Guest Bonus: 10% Discount on The Problem With Change

Drawing on two decades spent leading HR organizations at Deloitte and Cisco, in this book, Ashley Goodall reveals the truth about human performance and offers a radical new alternative to the constant turbulence that defines corporate life. Members can get 10% off a pre-order of The Problem With Change - valid through May 6.

Get this guest bonus and many other member benefits when you join The Modern Manager Podcast+ Community.


The Modern Manager is a leadership podcast for rockstar managers who want to create a working environment where people thrive, and great work gets done.

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