How to Create Organizational Change Followers

Organizational Change Followers one red fish is leading a school of fish colored blue

To Be  Change leader You Need Organizational Change Followers
When you are about to launch an organizational change initiative, be aware that, yes, you need an effective change leader but you also need a bunch of other stakeholders who are committed to making the change succeed.  We call them Organizational Change Followers.

The More the Better
Sure, you may start with one or two key executives who recognize that change needs to occur for the future health of the organization. But unless they can harness the energy and commitment of every other key stakeholders throughout the company, the transformation is likely to fail.

The Right Number of Organizational Change Followers
The number of organizational change followers who need to be on-board for effective change varies with the size of the organization, the scope and complexity of the change, and the length of time required.

  • A small company that envisions a rather short-term change can manage with just a few key players on the change team as long as the message cascades throughout the organization and is agreed-upon and supported.
  • In large organizations or for more far-reaching changes, however, the coalition of organizational change followers may need to grow to 20-plus and include a variety of stakeholders.

Internal Versus External Stakeholders
In general, internal stakeholders should include employees with a diversity of relationships, knowledge, expertise, roles, reputation and titles. External supporters can also be critical depending upon the type of change you desire. Consider recruiting the following to your cause: board members, key customers or even an influential union leader.

How to Garner Support and Commitment
How can you pull these organizational change followers together and gain their support and commitment? Many companies organize retreats that can last several days. Along with actively involving those most affected by change in the design process, the focused time together provides an opportunity to to build trust, set common goals, agree upon roles and responsibilities, set accountability targets, and  put together a change communication plan that will keep everyone fully informed of progress.

The Bottom Line
Full-fledged corporate change is often necessary and rarely easy. Change leaders need to recognize that it will take time, patience, perseverance, and a team that is committed for the long haul. Be thoughtful about who you invite to design and implement the changes you seek. Your change initiative will sink or swim according to your followers level of influence, commitment, desire and support.

If you want to up you change capabilities, download our free Change Management Toolkit for Leaders

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