The Ultimate Change Management Leadership Guide

In this change management leadership guide, you’ll learn why some programs get great results … and why others fail.

What makes the difference?

In short, it comes down to how a change manager or leader:

  • Creates
  • Manages
  • And leads

There are some defining traits, techniques, and approaches that will help you become more successful, every time.

The Ultimate Change Management Leadership Guide

By following the strategies laid out below, you’ll be able to lead more effectively, gain more support, and get better results from your change initiatives.

Train Thoroughly

Training is not an option – and it shouldn’t be an afterthought.

Research has shown that effective training is essential for:

  • Improving productivity
  • Decreasing learning curves
  • Reducing frustration and resistance

The best training programs should be multi-faceted, including:

Digital training solutions, such as digital adoption platforms and e-learning solutions

  • Offline training
  • Multiple training formats, such as audio, video, and text
  • Personalized training curriculums

Today, digital technology makes it much easier to create personalized training solutions.

From on-demand micro-learning to in-app training, it is easy to develop a streamlined training program.

Additionally, pre- and post-rollout training is another must.

A study by Google showed that organizations that trained before and after go-live always got better results.

Embrace the Value of Change

Your organization must embrace the value of change.

Make it a priority, therefore, to cultivate an awareness of that value.

The less people value change, the more they will resist it – or at least be indifferent to it.

When employees and executives value change, they will support it and drive it. This will directly impact your results.

Make Executive Sponsorship a Priority

Without support from leadership, programs are much less likely to succeed.

Successful leaders should target executives and gain their support early on.

That support is crucial to helping the program itself succeed.

And it is essential to getting others to embrace the value of change.

Without executive support, each obstacle will be that much harder to overcome.

Reinforce Change with Post-Project Change Activities

Post-project change activities are another predictor of success.

Leaders who reinforce change after project completion can:

  • Improve results
  • Ensure the change sticks
  • Deal with residual resistance, problems, or issues

From discussion groups to surveys, develop a method to keep your change from losing traction.

Consult with Ground-Level Employees

Consulting with frontline employees will give you valuable insight.

It will help you learn about employees’ perspectives, needs, and problems.

This information is invaluable to creating a program that gets accepted and supported.

Make sure to start well before the change program – and continue even after completion.

Be Flexible with Timing

Timing is very difficult to nail down … there are too many variables at play.

In large organizations, this is especially true.

Everyone is busy enough as it is. Creating a strict timeframe can add undue pressure, and make the change initiative more difficult than it has to be.

Be flexible with due dates and timeframes. You may find that your success rate goes up – simply because you gave employees enough time to get the job done.

Clearly Define and Communicate Your Vision

A clear vision for change is the light at the end of the tunnel.

Without that vision, employees will have nothing to aim for. And they will have no reason to go there.

In your vision, include benefits for the organization, the customers, and the employees.

Adding those benefits will sell them on the vision, giving them a reason to move forward.

Be Engaging and Fun

Change doesn’t have to be boring.

Find ways to engage employees, and they’ll be more motivated to follow your lead.

There are plenty of change management exercises, activities, and games to choose from.

Team-building exercises are a good place to start, especially when restructuring.

Develop a Well-Structured, Sophisticated Program

A change program should be systematic, sophisticated, and structured.

Research has proven that such programs always outperform poorly structured programs.

Leadership should work closely with change management to develop a program with:

  • Well-defined goals, metrics, and KPIs
  • Orientation, training, and onboarding
  • Multi-channel communication
  • Mechanisms for feedback, adaptation, and improvement

Along with provisions for the other strategies mentioned here.

Innovate and Be Agile

Agile change management is essential in today’s fast-paced economy.

This means your change program itself should be open to change.

It also means you should listen and respond to feedback when necessary – whether it comes from employees, customers, or executives.

A key trait to enable agility is mentioned above: embrace the value of change.

Organizations that embrace change will accept it as normal.

As a result, they will be more open, agile, and ready for change.

Conclusion

Effective leadership means many things.

In change management, leaders guide organizations and employees towards a goal. They do not dictate, mandate, or force change.

That approach will only hurt a change program.

And, in a worst case scenario, it can cause a program to fail.

Follow the strategies and ideas mentioned here, and your next change initiative will certainly benefit.

Chris is the Lead Author & Editor of Change Blog. Chris established the Change blog to create a source for news and discussion about some of the issues, challenges, news, and ideas relating to Change Management.