Whether you’re a designated change leader, or simply asked to execute a change mission, you’ll be faced with a task that requires a different level of thinking.
If you’re coordinating a transformation program, it should be highly visible and strategically designed. All companies need to innovate to survive, which involves service innovations, cost reductions, and competitive positioning.
Moving in a new direction signals a need to change the status quo, which is often met with resentment. As a change leader, it is your job to minimize the negative influence of reluctance, so you can transform the organization in a positive way.
This is far from easy, but an essential component of executing mission-critical business objectives. Without professional change leaders at their disposal, organizations will designate staff with no prior experience, which is one of the leading contributors to change initiatives failing.
Natural leadership qualities won’t suffice to meet transformation goals. There is a science to executing change, which must be acknowledged for successful outcomes.
By following the success factors outlined below, you’ll be better equipped to execute strategic change. These will highlight key criteria when transcending your business operations to align with the continuously evolving business world.
What and Why?
- Clarify your vision with those who are uncertain about the future. Your main priority is to ensure change is widely accepted, where staff realize what’s in it for them. When they understand the benefits of change, employees will be motivated to act in accordance with your strategy.
- The rationale for change should be clear and sound. Benefits should be well-defined, and employees should appreciate the relevancy of benefits, and how their everyday duties will contribute to change initiatives becoming the status quo.
- Does your case for change balance crisis and opportunity?
- Your vision should be easy to communicate, and open to input from staff. When employees feel comfortable reacting to your strategy, they’re more likely to represent the best interests of the company, drawing from their vast knowledge of different business functions. The rationale behind your approach should appeal to front-line staff, not simply appease executives.
- There should be a clear plan of action for going forward, knowing this can be readily adjusted based on external variables. These should be anticipated to increase the potency of your strategy. When your roadmap is shopped around, it should gain sponsorship from those who are responsible for the implementation of change.
Change Management Define: A Sense of Urgency That Can Be Maintained
- Change should be led by a proactive change champion. They’ll lead from the top down, and their enthusiasm for change and overriding influence will have a trickle effect through the organization.
- Active participants have a genuine interest in generating short term wins. These motivate staff, while reinforcing behaviors that align with change principles. When staff are incentivized to reach new objectives, there is a better chance short-term wins will cultivate the long-term adoption of change. When staff are simply hoping for short-terms, that won’t be good enough. Staff should strive for success if change is to become embedded in organizational culture.
- The rewards should be commensurate with the effort put forth to achieve goals. An unwillingness to recognize those who are helping you achieve your mission will negatively influence the change process. Rewards should go beyond money, and preference positive reassurance to secure repeat behavior.
- The positive energy created from short-term wins should be leveraged to tackle bigger problems. Always look at the bigger picture, because the accomplishment of short-term goals will contribute to overarching problems that have been identified in your change strategy.
Governance and Management: Change Management Define
- Every good strategy has a powerful, guiding coalition. This requires electing a change sponsor, with a governance body who oversees and refines the implementation of strategy. This will help your transformational roadmap maintain its urgency, helping it receive acceptance across the enterprise.
- Involve diverse, influential leaders, rather than simply using those who normally tackle leadership tasks. With extensive endorsement from all leaders, change will be encouraged, and useful knowledge can be contributed for a positive outcome.
- A day-to-day leader should be assigned. They will be responsible for identifying the needs of staff, removing staff, and driving the execution of change. Most importantly, they should be easily approachable, so staff are willing to raise concerns as and when necessary.
- Have you allocated the resources you need to be successful? Without the proper tools in the place, how will you achieve your intended outcomes?
By considering the points outlined above, you’ll be one step closer to becoming a successful change leader.
Remember to actively engage stakeholders, who are critical to effective transformation. When stakeholders are happy with their involvement, and the top agents of change are being utilized effectively, it will soon become the norm.