Negotiating Organizational Change: A Leader’s Guide

Negotiating Organizational Change: A Leader’s Guide
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Negotiating Organizational Change: A Leader’s Guide
When it comes to leading organizational change, successful change leaders know how those affected by change are treated matters.  Negotiating organizational change means actively involving key stakeholders early and often in the change process.  Done with an open and stakeholder-centered mindset, this increases stakeholder buy-in and the chances for successful organizational change.

The Key Steps to Negotiating Organizational Change as a Leader

  1. Create Authentic Change Urgency
    Employees must understand and agree with the urgency of change. Change leaders must instill a compelling reason for change at the individual, team, and organizational levels.  That means clearly articulating the need for transformation, aligning the desired change with overarching strategic priorities, and conveying the risks of maintaining the status quo.The most common mistake in this step is to underestimate the power of complacency, to undervalue the strength of the status quo, and to minimize the fear of people losing personal influence, turf, knowledge, relationships, and identity.

    Do those most affected by change deeply recognize and acknowledge that there is a problem, and that change is urgently needed?

  2. Co-Create a Compelling and Shared Vision for Change
    Once people feel like change is imperative, the next step in negotiating organizational change is to co-create a clear, compelling, and shared vision for change that rallies the troops. A shared vision for change is a collectively agreed-upon better future state that is better than the way things are now.  To get there takes time, two-way dialogues, and compromise.It also builds a strong coalition influencers and change champions to help overcome the inevitable change resistance that will rear its ugly head.  Do not try to rush this step.  You will only pay for it on the back end.

    The biggest mistake that change leaders make in this step is believing that one-way communication will change the hearts and minds of those most affected by change.  While  leaders must consistently communicate to inspire change and engage their teams in the transformation journey, the real lever for change is having stakeholders actively involved in designing the necessary changes that they believe in and own.

    Are you actively involving key stakeholders in creating a shared vision for change?

  3. Empowering Action
    Leaders should explicitly and consistently empower their teams to contribute actively to the change process. That means providing the necessary resources, removing key obstacles to change, and encouraging experimentation. It also means adjusting current workloads to manage employee wants, needs, and frustrations as new ways of working are introduced.The biggest mistake change leaders make in this step is being unclear about the decision-making rights, roles, processes, and boundaries for each individual and team.

    Are you empowering employees to make change and fostering a culture of decision making?

The Bottom Line
Mastering the negotiation of change requires leaders to take a strategic and purposeful approach. Leaders must create urgency, a shared vision, and empower meaningful action.

To learn more about negotiating organizational change, download 5 Science-Backed Lenses of Successful Change Leadership

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