Change Leadership: Driving Change that Lasts

Dec 1, 2021 | Culture and Engagement, Leadership

“In highly successful change efforts, people find ways to help others see the problems or solutions in ways that influence emotions, not just thought.”

“Switch: How to Change Things When Things are Hard” by Dan and Chip Heath

We know that change is inevitable in any and EVERY business, regardless of size or industry. We operate in a faster-moving world (and as we have seen from the pandemic, an unpredictable one), where to keep up, and better yet, compete, we need to welcome change. It’s how we lead and adapt to change that can make all the difference.

In “Switch: How to Change Things When Things are Hard”, Dan and Chip Heath speak about:

  • Directing the rider: Finding the bright spots, scripting the critical moves, and pointing to the destination, relaying the importance of the change.
  • Motivating the elephant: Making people feel motivated to take action by recognizing and celebrating milestones and reinforcing changes.
  • Sharing the path: Removing barriers to make it easier for your people to accomplish crucial moves and adopt and adapt to the changes more readily.

I have worked in many industries where to navigate the ever-accelerated changes; we had to manage change successfully. To drive change we had to be strategic and systematic every step of the way, engaging in various purposeful activities to garner buy-in.

As leaders, to drive change successfully, we must play an active role in speaking to the change and speaking to the emotional side behind the change. Below I have highlighted what I believe is the role of a leader and some best practices to deploy every step of a change initiative, big or small.

Create a Sense of Urgency

Role of a LeaderBest Practices
Create awareness for the need of the change, garnering support
Build excitement for the change
Communicate the change with all stakeholders
Engage the head (facts and consequences) and heart (emotions) Be accessible to answer questions and provide guidance
Be the face of the change

Form a Strategic Vision

Role of a LeaderBest Practices
Provide the strategic direction of the future
Orchestrate the creation of the vision and strategic initiatives
Ensure there is a clear understanding and full buy-in of the vision and initiatives
Ensure the vision and targeted activities are understood within all hierarchies and are achievable, relevant, and meaningful
Have a clear understanding of how the vision will appeal to and impact the broader audience

Communicate the Change for Buy-in

Role of a LeaderBest Practices
Capture the hearts and minds of team members
Address concerns and inconsistencies between leadership behaviour and the change vision
Determine mechanisms for communicating the message, ensuring consistent messaging
Ensure your communications are purposeful
Clearly convey the initiatives and use relevant vehicles to communicate the vision
Ask questions and communicate with team members to identify concerns

Remove Barriers

Role of a LeaderBest Practices
Identify and eliminate barriers in a timely manner
Mitigate resistance to changeEnsure an escalation process is in place to resolve critical barriers
Address obstacles immediately, ensuring these are mitigated and removed
Anticipate barriers and oversee a mitigation plan
Maintain frequent communications and touchpoints with team to understand concerns and support people through the change transition
Encourage ownership and empower team members to identify solutions to achieve the desired outcomes

Influential change leaders have the ability to inspire action in others. They drive change with clarity, agility, and empathy, always being the face of the change.

Check out our past blogs on change management: www.upskillconsulting.ca/blog/

If you would like to sign-up for our workshop on “Change Management: Leading Change Successfully”, email us at [email protected].

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