Change is a massive issue for organisations. Some do it well. Most do it poorly. I see the results of poorly designed and implemented change all the time. It got me thinking – why do most organisations stuff up when it comes to effective change?
It might sound simple, but it’s lack of planning. Most of us try to hurry change. We leave it until the last minute when things are urgent, we panic and rush things through. This usually means we haven’t given enough thought to a bunch of issues like:
- what will be the impact of the change?
- where might resistance come from?
- what is the best way to effect the change?
In fact, I reckon a lot of organisations just announce change. That is, due to lack of time and planning, they pick a date, send a memo that says “from here on, this is the way things will be done”, and then wonder why the change didn’t work!
Here are some simple steps to follow to increase your chances of effective change.
1. Make certain that the change is needed (what’s the urgency?)
2. Define what success will look like (what’s the vision?)
3. Sell the change to those going to be affected by it (communicate the benefits)
4. Make sure people have what they need to make the change (time, skills, understanding)
5. Set up for success not failure (small steps first, walk before you run)
6. Inspect what you expect (measure progress and report on it)
7. Make it stick (anchor the change so you don’t drift backwards).
You might be wondering, what’s change got to do with leadership? Only everything! Leaders change things. Leaders desire a different, better world and they make it their business to pursue it.