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What Every Leader Needs to Know About Leading Change

What Every Leader Needs to Know About Leading Change

It’s no surprise that people are the critical asset in successfully leading change. Leaders who know how to navigate and lead change with and through others have a competitive advantage that enables them to reap the rewards of increased revenue and profits. Unfortunately, most leaders, while they may be constantly initiating change, admit they are neither very good at it nor comfortable with leading it. They, and you, may benefit from knowing the hard truths about leading change, including:

  • Change starts with leadership. Leaders talk about what others need to do to implement the change but don’t always realize that change starts with themselves. Additionally, leaders are not always comfortable with change. Change initiatives succeed when leaders accept the change, are actively involved in it, and are accountable for the results.
  • Change is disruptive and messy. People can get distracted and resist the change. Leaders can help their people stay away from gossiping, so they can focus instead on what matters to drive positive outcomes.
  • A company’s people and culture influence the outcomes. The business content can consume leaders’ time, so the people aspects get shortchanged. Strategic changes succeed or fail based on the culture and the people. Simply put, what people do and say will impact the business results. Therefore, leading change requires using both business and people skills to gain the benefits of the change.
  • People want the benefits of change, but do not want to actually be changed. Change requires getting people ready, willing, and able to “want” to make the change. This may mean that they must learn new behaviors. Therefore, if you want a different outcome, you must change what you and your people do. Leaders can accelerate the change process by helping people see “what’s in it for them” through the right positive reinforcement.
  • Change efforts fail in the handoffs. Many change efforts fail when the handoff from the project team to the leadership team isn’t clear, or when leaders fail to accept full accountability for executing the plans.

Maybe it’s time to change up your approach to leading change. For practical, proven strategies to lead your change effort, check out my new book; Change Up: How Top Executives Lead Change and Deliver Results, available at Amazon.com!

Keep Your Finger On the Pulse of Progress

Keep Your Finger On the Pulse of Progress

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.

https://youtu.be/afS4JutYxPg

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.