Organizational Change Leadership Success Factors
Change management consulting experts know that organizational change represents an upheaval to the way things are currently done. Because employees are apt to see change through a lens that is more comfortable with business as usual, proposed changes can elicit resistance and even fear. In order to counter the fact that most large-scale change efforts do not achieve their objectives, you need a strong change leader at the head of a dedicated team who can present a convincing business case that change is needed. But a persuasive rationale for change is not enough.
Change Leadership Success Factors
Based upon data from our change management simulation, here are five factors that go far toward ensuring that your change leadership is sufficiently equipped to see the initiative through to a successful conclusion.
- Full Support from the C-Suite
Successful change requires unwavering and sustained support from the executive branch — support that not only includes frequent messaging but also sufficient resources and active involvement.
At a minimum, there should be a clear vision for change and an executive sponsor of the initiative that has the power and influence to see it through.
- Freedom to Engage a Significant Number of Key Stakeholders
Effective change leaders need the authority to actively include key stakeholders across the organization. Lasting organizational change will occur only when a healthy number of those most affected by change can meaningfully participate in the design and implementation of the change initiative and feel a sense of ownership in progress toward meaningful and compelling change goals.
At a minimum, people should feel like their opinions at work count.
- License to Design a Meaningful Incentive Program
We know that meaningful incentives can prompt changes in behavior. Change leaders should have the power to put together an incentive program that will boost the transformation. The program can include both financial and nonfinancial rewards that make the most sense in your unique culture.
At a minimum, any strong misalignments between how people are promoted, measured, and rewarded need to be fixed if you want your change to stick.
- Process for Sustained Implementation
Once the change process has been launched, it’s critical that there be a regularly scheduled check-in procedure to see that targets are being achieved and that people have what they need to be successful. Change will need disciplined monitoring, accountability, dialogue, and support to stay on track.
At a minimum, there should be a clear and transparent plan for change with strong leadership and cultural reinforcement.
- Focus on Changing Workplace Mindsets
Make sure you pay adequate attention to the soft side of change — the hearts and minds that you must change and engage. Successful change is about more than skills and outcomes. Workplace change is emotional, not just intellectual.
If you don’t change mindsets, it’s extremely difficult for people to change on-the-job behavior and performance. To change workplace mindsets, leaders must have honest and connecting two-way conversations with their people.
At a minimum, leaders must connect the dots between the desired changes and what’s in it for those affected by change.
The Bottom Line
Organizational change leadership requires a special kind of expertise. Have you chosen your change leader with the above success factors in mind? If not, you risk becoming among the majority of organizations who know they need to change, but never reach their change objectives.
To learn more about change leadership success factors, download How to Mobilize, Design and Transform Your Change Initiative