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
In these transformative times, the status quo can be a death sentence to a business. Change is essential for any leader looking to advance and deliver top performance.
I have personally led and experienced both successful and failed initiatives. I have been honored to work with top leaders of global companies and iconic brands, each trying to create a “secret sauce” to bring products and services to market. Through my own experiences and significant strategic engagements, I have learned some consistent truths about change, regardless of the type of company, the industry, or location. I want to share these truths with you.
Truth: Leaders who know how to navigate and lead change have a competitive advantage that enables them to reap the rewards in increased revenue and profits. Unfortunately, most leaders, while constantly initiating change, admit they are not very good at actually leading change.
Truth: If you want a different outcome, you must change what you and your people do. Everyone – from the C-Suite to the person in the field – has a role to play. But often people want the benefits of the change, without being changed. People rarely agree, accept, or adopt a new way merely by being told to “do it.”
Truth: Change requires people who are ready, willing, and able to make the change. If you want the business to achieve its full potential, you need to find ways to engage your people and your organization quickly in working in the new way. You can spend millions on a business solution, but if you can’t get people to use the system or deploy the strategy, you will not achieve the results you want.
Truth: Change initiatives are people intensive, and learning a new set of behaviors takes time. You can accelerate the change with the right reinforcement systems and behavioral engagement plans. Regrettably, too many leaders shy away from the human side of change; they find it easier to focus on the business plan tactics.
Truth: Leaders talk about what others need to do differently, but often don’t realize that change starts with themselves. It’s easy for you to forget you’ve been working on the strategic initiative for weeks and months, familiarizing yourself with the design and business plan. Once the initiative is announced, you expect people to jump into action. Too frequently, the people don’t understand the change or know what they should do. They feel overwhelmed and undersupported; they may do the wrong things, or not act at all.
At a loss of where to start?
Change starts with you. Knowing what needs to be accomplished, why it’s important beyond just the dollars and cents and how you plan to engage the hearts, hands, and heads of your fellow colleagues to want to change versus merely complying with your request.
For more insights about leading change, pick up a copy of my book “The Truth About Change” on Amazon and visit my website at www.HilaryPotts.com.
The adrenaline rush and sense of urgency of a new role can be intoxicating. Others are counting on you to deliver results. It feels like the clock is ticking and you must do something fast.
If you’re not careful, that same passion can blur your vision of what’s really needed to achieve results. The need for speed can drive leaders to make unwise decisions. Without full knowledge of the business or alignment from colleagues, initiatives will surely stall.
The problem is, most incoming leaders aren’t fully prepared, thus the reason for an onboarding period. In fact, Carucci & Hansen’s research of incoming leaders found that nearly two-thirds of leaders admitted that they lacked sufficient understanding of what was required of them and they weren’t fully prepared for what they faced in a new role.
So why is it that new leaders jump so quickly to make decisions without fully assessing the situation? The very onboarding strategies and due diligence that could help a leader are abandoned for action.
The drive for performance and need for speed sometimes lures leaders in the wrong direction. It’s easy to convince yourself that the solution you implemented in your prior role will work just fine in this new situation.
Now hold on for just a minute.
Too many initiatives fail to meet their intended outcomes. Could it be that you are moving too quickly? Is there agreement and alignment to move things forward?
Instead of abandoning your onboarding due diligence, use it to your advantage.
- Get others engaged with you in gathering the facts, and assessing the situation.
- Find the time to get to know the business, people, customers, and culture.
- Build the credibility, trust, and respect of your colleagues.
- Let go of your paradigms and preconceived notions.
- Assess the overall situation to determine what’s the best solution for the business.
- Develop clear plans that help people ‘want’ to make the change versus resist the change.
- Get everyone committed and engaged in implementing the solution.
- Take time out to celebrate your successes and learn from your failures.
Sometimes to go fast requires slowing down just a bit to make sure you are heading in the right direction. When we go slow, others are able to get on board and help with the solution. All of this could actually save a ton of time and aggravation on the back-end.
In a new role, making changes too quickly is just one of the mistakes incoming leaders make. In a recent ExecuNet Masterclass, How to Bring Your Best to a New Role, I shared the 10 common mistakes executives make entering new roles. You can access William Flamme’s article and the video excerpt of our discussion about making changes too quickly.
Are you interested in learning about the other ten mistakes?
You can receive the 10 Mistakes Executives Make Entering a New Role here
Are you so focused on the end result that you are charging ahead, assuming everyone is with you?
Before you find yourself all alone, here are simple steps to lead through even the trickiest situations:
- Help others see “why” the change is important to make
- Set clear direction and get buy-in for what needs to be accomplished
- Prepare yourself for the change and know what it will take to enroll others
- Map out an implementation plan so others can own the solution
- Be consistent in your own actions
- Keep people in the know with open lines of communication
- Provide frequent feedback and remove obstacles in the way of progress
- Celebrate even the smallest of advancements and people will begin to move in the right direction
When leaders enable others by gaining agreement and buy-in, the momentum of the change begins to shift from the actions of one to the actions of many.