Some questions that come up during mergers and acquisitions are pretty easy to answer if you’re willing to face people who won’t be happy with the answer. The answer to these questions falls into that category. This won’t be a one-time conversation; what you’re about to read is a very abbreviated version of a real conversation, but it should give you some insights into the role you’re going to play.
"What’s going to change?" or "What’s going to happen to my job?"
"Why don’t you count on everything changing."
"You’re kidding, right? It’s all not going to change. It couldn’t possibly do that."
"I know we’d all like to believe that not much will change, but my experience is that in situations like ours, change becomes the norm."
"I hate change."
"You’re not the only one. I like to keep in mind that while change is often hard, it can also be exciting. When I look back, some of the toughest changes in my life turned out to be times of growth and new opportunities." "Yeah, but it’s still hard."
"Yeah, it’s hard. Let’s keep talking. We’ll be going through it together."
Leading people during times of change demands that a leader get smart about how change affects people. Like other questions in this book, these questions are all about emotions, not facts and figures.
If you try to answer them with facts and figures, you’ll miss the real point of the question. Helping people sort through their emotions is tough and probably wasn’t covered in your job training. If you’re not developing your expertise around how people react to change, this would be a perfect time to start. Change sneaks up on you when you least expect it.