A relevant and popular topic in my work lately has been the always present “change.” Two phrases I’ve heard repeatedly are, “there’s too much change” and “we’re experiencing change fatigue.” If you or your area is experiencing a lot of change, you may recognize the obstacles Daniel Stewart, President of Stewart Leadership, identified in a recent article (see link below). Thankfully there are remedies for leading successful change!
#1. No Vision (leads to) Confusion – “Why”
Without a well-articulated and compelling case for change, confusion will usually emerge.
- Spell out the vision for the change
- Use words that connect or resonate with your staff
- Repeat the message again and again
#2. No Skills and Resources (Leads to) Anxiety – “Can’t Do It”
People can be told what to do, but if they don’t have the new skills and necessary resources, then they start getting very anxious that they can’t perform the job.
- Provide specific training ahead of time
- Check in on progress so it doesn’t become “too late”
#3. No Engagement (leads to) Slow Change – “What’s In It For Me”
When change is slow and has lots of obstacles, the cause is usually a lack of engagement from those implementing the change.
- Know who will be affected the most by the change and engage them early
- Show how the change will benefit those affected
- Listen to feedback and adjust the approach and technique based on the feedback
- Be curious to understand resistance as opposed to lecturing and scolding
#4. No Leadership (leads to) False Starts – “Who Decides?”
False starts are like getting ready for a party and nobody shows up. This happens when you mistakenly think the decision makers are aligned. When they aren’t, what results is endless spinning and no clear decision.
- Clarify up front who makes the call to approve, launch, veto and alter the change effort
#5. No Planning and Action (leads to) Roadblocks – “More Rework”
Surprises and roadblocks can be minimized or managed more easily with attention to planning beforehand.
- If a large goal, chunk it down to smaller milestones
- Assign actions for each milestone
- Have a few “if”, “then” contingency plans
#6. No Measurement (leads to) No Learning – “What Progress?”
Creating clear metrics and having debriefs is incredibly important to learning and adapting during the project as well as improving the next change effort.
- Measure adoption of the change (is it happening)
- Measure utilization of the change (how well the change is happening)
- Measure engagement of those implementing the change (how well they understand and support the change)
When have you experienced or led a successful change initiative? What did you do? What were the circumstances around the change? Feel welcome to share your thoughts.
To read the full article and access a diagnostic tool, visit LinkedIn.