Change is inevitable – how we react to it is not

Change management advice for leaders

"People don’t resist change, they resist being changed"

– Peter Senge

We are habitual animals and change doesn’t come easily.  Organisational change involves lots of very busy habitual animals understanding and believing change is necessary. So as leaders if we want lasting change there are some tips or principles that are worth considering.

“Be the change you want to see in the world” – Mahatma Gandhi

Change can take many different forms. At 360 Growth Partners change is normally part of a discussion that involves growth or scaling a business but the initial conversation is about why you want to grow, in the first place. Change needs to be compelling, not only for the owner or leader but for those who lead others in the business and the rest of the company.

We talk about growth mindset and the desire to learn and improve. Change starts with you as the leader. Not only does it need to be compelling you will need to be seen as the model for others to learn from. Change only happens if the leaders are clearly seen as part of that change. Growth journeys that reach their destination start with clarity and commitment from the top.

So, what else is important to remember before we embark on organisational change?

Set the stage:

In ‘Our Iceberg is melting’ by John Kotter the need for change was clearly urgent as the penguins knew they would have to move as their home wouldn’t exist much longer! Change is not normally that extreme and the reasons perhaps less obvious but giving a clear picture and rationale for change is crucial with some explanation as to what makes it a priority.

Be honest and give as much information as possible from the outset.  It is unlikely that you alone will have all the answers or be able to create the necessary change so pull together a team that will be the creators, communicators and implementors of the change. Be prepared to talk about your own challenges and how, as leaders, you have had to come to terms with the need for change. This demonstration of openness and vulnerability can help others commit to the change.

Maintain an awareness throughout that you have the advantage of being at the front of the train with a clear view of what’s coming. Remember that the view of others is more limited and they might be in second class following some way behind or perhaps even still waiting on the platform.

 

Take the time to communicate:

Treat people with the respect they deserve and give them a clear ‘why’ and roadmap with timings. Clarify how the future will be different from the past, the intended outcome or objectives and make it personal. How will it improve my working life or if it won’t be sure to explain the wider benefits to the business.

 

Celebrate short term wins: 

Show people the progress on the way to change. Demonstrate how things are improving or the short term impact or results. Communicate what is happening as well as any setbacks. It is silence that unnerves people and where support for change is lost.

 

We are all different: 

As in life some people love change and variety whilst others cling on to what they know. Understand both and talk to them accordingly. If I struggle with change I will need lots of reassurance and sight of the benefits of change early on.

 

Make it stick:

Create a new culture, model the new ways of working and embed the change in the organisation. Stay focused on the end goal but be prepared to listen and learn on the journey and flex when necessary. Remember the importance of capturing the narrative – why we made the change, the process of change, the learning and the new order of things. Finally, do evaluate whether you achieved your original goals/vision and celebrate the success publicly.

 

We’ve created a handy downloadable ‘Implementing Change Guide’ to help improve your change management skills as a leader. Simply click on the button below to receive your FREE copy!

FREE Implementing Change Management Guide

If you would like to know more about 360 Growth Partners and how we could support you or your business with managing change, then please get in touch and let’s start the conversation