Effective Change Leadership Strategies
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Change is never easy. If fact, from an organizational perspective, creating organizational change and making changes to the current company culture is one of the biggest challenges for leadership. Change is not a one-off event; it’s a process – and one that can take a long time to see to fruition.
Organizations, much like people, grow and evolve over time, not all at once, which is why leaders need to have a strong change management plan and framework in place if they want to alter internal processes, ways of doing business, or company culture.
Why Change Initiatives Fail
Most change initiatives fail. According to Ken Blanchard, up to 70 per cent of change initiatives fail and 29 per cent of change initiatives are launched without a formal structure or plan– a staggering statistic that leaders cannot afford to overlook.
“It takes a whole team of people to create a great company but just one lousy leader to take the whole business down the pan,” says Blanchard.
Internal change initiatives fail for a variety of reasons:
- People are naturally opposed to change – they can feel threatened and are worried about how they will be directly impacted
- There is a lack of urgency to change – people like the status quo
- There is a lack of clear vision – people need to understand where the company is going, how they will change, and why this is beneficial
- Leaders fail to get people excited about change – it’s important to engage your team and make them part of the change process to get them on board
- Leaders fail to successfully remove obstacles to change – they fail to address opponents of change or create accountability for those who resort to old habits once new processes are established
How to Make the Case for Change Internally
Obviously, it’s essential for leaders to avoid the common reasons why change fails to take hold. Making the case for change has to be a convincing one, where leadership down to front line employees get on board.
In A NO EXCUSE Approach to Make Change Stick and Drive Employee Engagement, leadership expert Bill Hogg explains the key factors needed to make the case for change:
“Making change stick is challenging, and keeping your team engaged and accountable throughout the process can be even more of a challenge. Framing change the right way, having a strong change management plan, allowing your team to provide input in how change will take place, and giving change time to take place will give it a better chance to stick and keep your people engaged during the transition.”
Hogg recommends these change leadership strategies to make change stick as organizations evolve:
- Explore your options – have a Plan B, C, & D
- Expand internal involvement – the more people involved and on board, the easier the transition
- Have a strong case for change – why is it necessary?
- Support your people during change – offer training and coaching
- Communicate your vision for change regularly
- Hold people accountable – what are the repercussions for lack of compliance?
- Focus on the long term – but don’t forget about the short term wins
How Hiring Impacts Organizational Change
Recruiting and change go hand in hand. Each time you recruit individuals and add new people to your organization, it’s an opportunity to create change. It’s a chance to add new skills, explore new ideas, look at things through a different lens and change your company culture. At the executive level, it’s an opportunity to change your approach to leadership and make organizational change.
Whether you are planning a change initiative, want to breathe some new life into your company culture, or go in a different strategic direction, hiring gives you the chance to start creating the culture you want, one hire at a time.