It seems that change is inevitable. What can you do as a leader to minimize the negative disruption change can cause to your organization and your teams? It all starts with the essentials for leading change successfully.
Leading Change versus Managing Change
In our experience of nearly three decades leading change projects in the field, we have observed that organizations are generally better at the tactical and operational side of change compared to the strategic and people side of change. Most managers are pretty good at putting the systems and structures in place to accommodate the desired changes, but it’s on the people side of change – where change leaders have the oversight – that complex organizational changes tend to falter.
4 Essentials for Leading Change Successfully
The people side of change requires the ability to marshal resources, influence and motivate. Change leaders create successful change through their people by:
1. Creating an Inspiring Vision
The best leaders are able to create a picture of a better future that excites people to follow. Their charisma and vision engage both the hearts and minds of their employees.
2. Setting Clear Expectations
While change leaders are able to motivate and influence the workforce with the power of their vision, they also must be clear about how the change will affect both the organization and the individual. Employees need to understand and buy into how they will need to behave differently and why it is in their best interest to do so.
3. Ensuring Open Communication and Timely Information Flow
Our organizational alignment research found the timely flow of information had the fourth greatest impact on profitable revenue growth, customer loyalty and employee engagement. Change leaders must be open and honest as they answer questions and address issues that concern their workforce. Without transparency, workers often allow worry and mistrust to take over.
4. Making a Long-Term Commitment
Change leaders need to persevere. Change will not occur overnight. The best way to keep employees engaged and committed is to break the change process up into milestones that can be celebrated along the way.
The Bottom Line
Don’t make the mistake of focusing just on the mechanics of change without taking into account the people side of change. Create a picture of success, be straight with your employees about the challenges, stay in touch, treat their feedback with understanding, and continue to motivate throughout the process.
To learn more essentials for leading change, download 5 New Lenses of Change Leadership
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