How to use “Turn Signals” to avoid disasters at work

How to use “Turn Signals” to avoid disasters at work.

In traffic, when drivers make sudden changes in direction without notice, it creates havoc for those following them. But when those drivers use turn signals, those around them can make necessary adjustments and avoid potential disasters.

Similarly, as a leader at work, your team is working in sync with you in the office. Each person around you is working on projects and timelines to support your previous instructions. Making last minutes changes to schedules or pulling staff from one team to another without notice, creates a tremendous amount of turmoil and chaos..

Using turn signals in the office.

To help reduce that chaos, consider using “Turn Signals” the next time you decide to change directions on a project. Letting people know about your intentions for change is a great way to get others to work with you. Here are 3 easy tips for using turn signals at work:

1. Use a “turn signal” to consider everyone’s existing plans, appointments and schedules. 

Few things frustrate highly organized folks more than last minute, unplanned changes that disrupt their day. As an entrepreneur, changing your schedule may come easily to you, but not everyone is wired like you. Understanding and respecting that will serve you well in terms of employee attitude toward your meetings.

Unless it’s a safety issue, try and give people at least 24 hours’ notice of newly scheduled meetings. Sort of like a turn signal of what you plan to do before you do it.

2. Be clear where you’d like to go before signaling that you intend to change directions.

Have you ever been behind a driver that signals their intention to turn, only to decide to take the next turn, or the next? It would appear that they don’t know where they are going, doesn’t it?

It’s important to literally map out the changes you’d like to make with specified outcomes and timelines before announcing your intention to change. This will give you time to work out training, minimize corrections along the way and increase other’s confidence in your leadership skills. For more information on developing plans, checkout my article here:

3. Use a “turn signal” by announcing policy changes a few weeks or even months before the implementation date.

Implementing change is always difficult. It’s even more so when introducing change to people without time to understand them. For example, let’s say you decide to upgrade your computer system. Let everyone know in advance when the system should arrive, when training times are and then schedule a “Go Live date” for the first of next month.

This way, your employees are trained and comfortable with the changes. You can test and work out bugs before customers are involved. Then, your staff can see the new system as an opportunity for improvement, rather than a dark, scary challenge.