Sometimes, in organizations that are falling behind or not performing as they should, all it takes is one person to take the reins and create change for the better.
It can be difficult to find the kind of people who will put themselves forward and take responsibility for propelling a company towards future success, but these people are some of the most important individuals that a business can have.
With effective leadership, any company can successfully navigate opportunities, challenges and threats from external forces.
Here’s how just one effective leader can transform a company and inspire effective and successful organizational change.
Understanding the three C’s of change leadership
When you’re in charge of leading a company through organizational change, you are likely to feel a lot of pressure to succeed.
While the right decisions can result in long-lasting success, the wrong choices – or the wrong implementation – could see the end of your company as you know it.
When you look at examples of successful organizational change processes, it often comes down to three important factors: communication, collaboration, and commitment.
A network of managers and employees are required to help implement changes and see them through to completion.
If you want to get your whole company on board, you need to find effective ways to communicate with them that will garner their support.
Before you take action, you need to communicate the “what” and the “why” of any organizational change. All employees must be on the same page when it comes to what will be different and why the changes are necessary.
During unsuccessful change procedures, leaders sometimes focus too heavily on the “what”, which can alienate their employees and create a general air of confusion regarding plans for the company.
If you’re able to explain to your employees the issues that the business is facing, and why changes need to be made in the future, you are far more likely to get people to support you, whilst also creating greater urgency for change.
Changing an entire organization isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes a long time, and in most cases it is a cyclical process that works on the basis of continuous improvement.
As a leader, you should bring people together to plan and execute changes. This involves encouraging departments to work together, break out of their usual silos, and to push creative boundaries to create a stable foundation for your change efforts.
When you involve your employees at an early stage of change proceedings, you can help to strengthen their commitment to changes.
Furthermore, your employees are the people who are likely to feel the greatest impact of any changes implemented. By involving them in the process from the beginning, they can provide valuable insight and information which can inform decision-making.
A good leader needs to be resilient, persistent and dedicated to their role. These qualities become even more important when you’re heading company-wide changes.
You should be committed to the improvements you want to make and be willing to step outside of your comfort zone to make it happen.
When your employees see how committed you are to the changes, it helps them to take the restructuring more seriously and become more willing to help you make it a reality.
Tips on how to effectively implement organizational changes
There’s a lot riding on the shoulders of leaders who want to push their companies forward. If you want to implement changes effectively, here are some of the things you should consider.
- Think strategically
In an ideal world, you would have all the time, money and resources to implement change. However, as this is rarely the case, you need to be strategic about using what you have to the best of your ability.
Leaders themselves need to be strategic thinkers, but you should also surround yourself with other strong strategists who recognize the need for change and can help you to put plans into action.
Strategic thinkers are able to articulate clear reasons for change at every stage, understand the challenges they are likely to face, prevent negative pushback, and be effective in persuading employees that the plan of action selected is the most advisable.
- Identify and utilize change champions
Not only do leaders need to be passionate about the change, but people at all levels of the organization must be on board too.
You shouldn’t leave it to chance and hope that everyone will see your point of view, you should also identify other people within the organization who can help round up support for your plan of action.
People are far more likely to accept changes when they see others around them embracing them. This is why it’s so important to have change champions at all levels of your company.
To identify these champions, hold focus groups, encourage staff to give feedback, and empower your employees to have their say on what changes need to be made. In doing so, you can figure out who is likely to be the best support for your cause.
- Prepare for pitfalls and setbacks
No change procedure is ever going to be plain sailing, so you should anticipate and plan for any pitfalls and setbacks you may face during the implementation process.
Start coming up with ways that you can combat any issues that could happen during the implementation of your changes, including during the adjustment period once you’ve started to put your plan into action.
It’s unlikely that you’ll be able to plan for every small thing that could go wrong, but if you do some preparation beforehand, you’ll be better equipped to tackle issues with minimal disruption.
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