The Profile of a Successful Change Leader

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The Profile of a Successful Change Leader
What does it take to be successful at leading organizational change?

With the pace and level of disruption today, only those leaders that are able to meet the necessity of change with skill and alacrity will ultimately succeed. It behooves all leaders to understand the core competencies required to successfully lead change.  So what is the profile of a successful change leader?

The Profile of a Successful Organizational Change Leader
When push comes to shove, we believe that successful change leaders need to be exceptionally good at four things:

1. Actively Involving and Communicating
The best change leaders are able to clearly express a motivating purpose and meaningful rationale for change.  They are able to create a clear, compelling argument for why the change is necessary and develop a worthwhile vision for success.  They know that they need to actively involve and engage all levels of the organization in the effort:  first by presenting the case for change, then by encouraging working sessions with candid conversations, concerns and ideas from the workforce, and finally by garnering support and buy-in.

2. Designing the How
The best change leaders are expert strategists. Once they have identified a goal, they set about planning how to achieve it.  They know how to develop an implementable road map for success that includes time lines, provides resources, defines priorities, details behaviors and assigns tasks and metrics.  By the same token, they know how to include employees at all levels in the plan to ensure that the employees believe the change to be achievable as well as desirable.

3. Bridging the Gaps
Successful leaders know how to bring key stakeholders together. When a strategy has been agreed upon, they do not tolerate anything but a concerted and cooperative effort to implement it.  They understand that collaboration is achieved through clarity, transparency, and the appropriate recognition of steps made in the right direction.

4. Learning Along the Way
The best change leaders have a healthy dose of humility. They are good listeners because they know they don’t have all the answers.  They regularly meet with those in charge of executing the change to learn about what is working and what is not.  Then they make necessary tweaks to keep the “train on the track.”  They don’t fear or avoid challenges; instead, they welcome them for the opportunity to consider alternative approaches and to learn better ways.

The Bottom Line
Many businesses and leaders have faltered for lack of the ability to quickly adapt to change – Blockbuster, Kodak, and Webvan are just three examples.  Don’t let this happen to your organization.  Be sure you have leaders with the capability to recognize when change is needed and then to introduce and implement it successfully.

To learn more about what goes into the profile of a successful change leader, download the 5 Science-Backed Lenses of Change Leadership

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