Telling people about a new
initiative usually isn’t enough for people to ‘want’ to make changes.
An action listed in a
project plan doesn’t readily trigger responses.
Change doesn’t happen on
its own. Way too much is going on. People feel they already have enough on
If you are asking people
to do things differently, you too may have to step out of your comfort zone to
try new approaches.
Try these 8 tips to
change up your approach:
the strategy or plan into a compelling case for change. Help others understand
the situation, the size of the prize, and why it’s critical to address now.
engage people in discussions to gain agreement, alignment, and commitment to
- Communicate even
when you get tired of the message. You may be surprised that someone is just
hearing it for the first time.
- Clarify the
actions you will take and what you expect of others.
- Be on the
lookout for catching people doing something right and provide positive
feedback, so you get more.
- Change is
uncomfortable, so expect people to resist, object, and express their concerns.
Get acquainted with the issues that get in people’s way. Stay ahead of this
discomfort by identifying the potential areas of conflict, and those sticking
points where people get stuck or blocked. Get people to try small actions
towards the new way.
- Rarely does
one organizational change happen by itself. Identify the organizational
interdependencies and create a timeline that prioritizes and sequences all the
activities, so people know what to focus on and when.
measure, and celebrate progress. Create a positive learning environment for
accelerating the change.
For more tips and
leadership strategies to lead your change effort, check out my book; Change
Up: How Top Executives Lead Change and Deliver Results, available at
Change is uncomfortable.
Some people like this feeling while most would prefer to keep doing things the way they always have done.
We need to find ways to become comfortable, with the discomfort of change.
In my latest book, Change Up, I lay out the Five Keys for Leading Change to give
leaders a simple diagnostic tool to assess individual and group readiness for
implementing the change.
Be Accountable. When you accept accountability for a change, you chart a course and
model new behaviors. You communicate, coach, and provide feedback to get people
to work in a new way; and you build accountability throughout the organization,
so that leaders and employees are responsible for results.
& Alignment. Because of different perspectives,
leadership teams can struggle to gain consensus about what to do and how to
implement a change effort. With agreement, the leadership team has a shared
view of the future. Agreement is about “what” you want to do and “why” it is
An agreement isn’t sufficient by itself. For instance, I can agree that changes are necessary but may have no interest in changing my behavior. Alignment helps people to define “how” the changes will be carried out through individual actions. When people are left to figure it out for themselves, implementation can be sporadic and disjointed, potentially adding costs to the initiative and sometimes even leading to failure to meet the desired results. Therefore, it’s essential to gain alignment for how the changes will be carried out.
Build Acceptance. During times of change, people can become paralyzed or resistant to the very changes that can help both them and the business thrive. People process changes differently—mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Too often, I see leaders announce a change and
expect that everyone will get onboard. One communication is usually not enough.
You can help by sharing what’s going to happen and why it’s important to act
now. Provide a safe place for people to talk about their concerns as well as
discuss how they can engage in new actions without feeling vulnerable. When people
are given the opportunity to understand and process the information, they can
determine how to take steps to participate in the effort.
Take Positi Action. New behaviors often feel awkward. Competing priorities can get in the way. You can help people take the right actions by focusing them on the right priorities and reinforcing new behaviors. This requires you to understand what people need to start doing differently and what they no longer need to do. This may require new approaches to getting the work done.
Accelerate the Change Process. If you want to get results and fast, then pay attention to your most valuable asset – people. People drive change. When you actively engage with people, they can accelerate results through consistent actions. Look for and remove obstacles that can impede progress and provide support and feedback as people work in a new way.
The Five Keys help you assess whether you are building engagement, accountability, and productivity for the change effort. The Keys will serve as a quick reference, a leadership lens, for ensuring that your people will be ready, willing, and able to execute the change. Use these keys throughout the implementation of an initiative, to help you understand what’s working—and what’s off track
More tips and techniques to successfully lead change can be found in my latest book; Change Up: How Top Executives Lead Change and Deliver Results available at Amazon.com! Or check out my blog posts for additional leadership strategies at www.hilarypotts.com.
To bringing your best to leading in these
The speed of change in this 24/7 society can be overwhelming and confusing. It doesn’t have to be.
Jasbindar Singh and I met to discuss why leading change is so difficult, what many executives miss, and how to take accountability for your actions. If you don’t want to be stuck in the middle and wish to be on top of your next change, take a read of the discussion Jasbindar and I had about leading change.
Leadership: The Truth about Change
Jasbindar Singh is a psychologist and blogger who helps her clients step up and out to take their next steps – however big or small! www.jasbindarsingh.com
Time gets away from us. The calendar is overflowing with meetings. How can we find time for others when we struggle to find a moment for ourselves? We fear that if we get connected, we will get pulled into too many issues.
We convince ourselves that the townhalls, meetings, and email blasts are enough to convey our messages. But we’re not sure that the messages are appropriately cascaded, and that people are actively executing on the key initiatives.
When leaders are not available, it is easy to become isolated and distanced from the real issues. Without those valuable conversations, we do not have the data to make accurate decisions and without out input, people are left to figure it out for themselves. Often this is where project implementation goes off track.
Here are ways to get connected using what I call the Visibility Matrix:
Free Up Time – Make effective use of your time by finding five, ten or even 15-minutes in your day. Shorten appointments, focus conversations to one topic, arrive at meetings early and end meetings early with the focus on using these precious minutes to increase your face time with others.
If you are like me and tend to sit at my desk all day, ask a colleague to take a 10-minute walking break which is a terrific way to stretch your legs and walk and talk with a colleague.
Instead of bolting out the door at the end of the day with cellphone plugged into your ear, bock the last 10-15 minutes of the day as personal wrap-up time. Reflect on the day and lay out the next. Then make a smooth transition from the workday into your evening activities.
Pay attention to the transitions in your day – It’s easy to blow by the transitions from meeting to meeting, and one activity to another until it all feels like the day is one big blur. Use the time between activities to regroup, and reconnect. Stop by a colleague’s desk on the way to or from the restroom, or getting a glass of water.
You can access more tips and ideas in the attached YouTube segment.
By being visible and connected with others, you get a two-way dialogue going. You find out what’s going on. You can ask questions, make comments, remove obstacles, provide insights and coaching, and give feedback to others. Through your visibility you show the work is valued, it’s important, and you can be involved in the right way to help.
Hilary Potts is a leadership strategist who advises senior leaders to navigate today’s intensively competitive business world with success. She is the author of leadership books; The Executive Transition Playbook and The Truth About Change, available on Amazon.com. Additional leadership tips, tools, blogs, podcasts, and videos are available on www.hapgrp.com.