Lead Change: 5 Steps to Transform Your Change Management

Feb 04, 2021

"Lead Change: Remember, it starts and ends with you."

Let's shatter some Myths!

  • Change is hard! Nope. Change can be the simplest thing in the world. Truth: People never resist what they conclude for themselves.
  • Change takes forever! Not always. I've worked with people who have transformed in an instant. Truth: When the mind is ready, the message lands.
  • Change needs to be led from the top! Rarely. Some of the best change programmes are led by the workforce. Truth: You can lead change from any seat.
  • Change is hard to sustain! Nonsense. Just look at the sustained growth of household technology in recent years. Truth: A habit was a change at some point.

The Real Truth About Leading Change

There are significant challenges when it comes to leading change. Which is why change management became a thing in the first place. There are some things you need to understand when the mission to lead change comes your way.

  • The impact of change is bigger than you think. We often underestimate the impact of change. This is especially true if we're a real advocate. Our excitement and experience of the change can lead us to assume it will be a quick job to help others see the light. It rarely is. Remember, everyone else is starting a lot further back and their understanding will be very different to yours.
  • Not everyone will see the need to change. For some, the change will appear as change for change sake. Some resistance to change is fuelled by a deep love for the way things are currently. Alternatively, holding on to the status quo could be stimulated by fear. Knowing this is important when setting your own expectations.
  • Some things are better as they are. Not all change is good. You may even struggle to see the benefits in the change you are leading. This is especially true with individual aspects of a much bigger change. Change in one area may only be understandable when viewed as a contributor to a much bigger benefit.
  • People don't pay attention. In sales, people only decide to buy after hearing a message 7 times. In change, it may take a few more! People are busy, distracted, uninterested and sometimes actively against the change you are leading. All of these get in the way of hearing the message.
  • Enthusiasts can be dangerous. Excited people create two risks in change management terms. First, their energy can repel people who need more gentle coaxing. Secondly, enthusiasm can sometimes come at the expense of rigour and alignment. Expectations can suddenly extend beyond what is achievable (or even planned). To lead change effectively, you have to manage your enthusiasts as actively as your critics.
  • Skeptics can be valuable. I love a skeptic. They come armed with a whole load of reasons the change could fail. Knowing these can add so much richness to the plan and identify all the risks that need to be managed.

In this week's video, I wanted to give you a story from my own life. How to Lead Change is a look at the principles behind the development of The Change Maker Group. As the Founder, I've shared the critical elements that I believe enabled us to make change happen, sustainably.

Having thought about a few of the important things to know before we take on the challenge to lead change, let's look at 5 Steps you can take to ensure your next change is a success.

5 Steps To Transform Your Change Management

These 5 Steps are drawn from years of experience working with individuals and teams as they have made change happen. People lead change in so many environments; at home, in work, within their community and these steps will apply to all. They're taken from my DELTA Model for change which underpins our work at TCMG. In my mind, they are critical steps as your change moves around the model.

  1. Assess the full impact of the change. Capture the names of everyone involved or impacted by the change. (We call them stakeholders.) Without this thinking, you may inadvertently leave people out of the change process and they will feel ignored. Some of these may be powerful stakeholders who will come back to haunt you!
  2. Be Proactive. Engagement is an active sport. People forget what they've heard, ignore what they've seen and champion what they have had a hand in planning. Get people actively involved. Make it their change.
  3. Anticipate hurdles. Whilst you will want to maintain high levels of positivity as you lead change, retain some pragmatism. There will be hiccups along the way. People will create problems. There will be Plot Twists! The more of these you can anticipate ahead of time, the less time you will lose overcoming them.
  4. Be a great Cheerleader. Significant change, the type of change most organisations embark upon, takes time to materialise. The Change Makers in your team will experience dips in energy, discouragement and frustration. Plan activities to raise their spirits. Celebrate the milestones. Disrupt the routines to recognise breakthroughs, however small. Most of all, acknowledge the efforts they are making.
  5. Keep developing Change Makers. The single, most beneficial thing, leaders can do today, is develop more Change Makers. People with the mindset to thrive on change and help others through the process, are indispensable. There is so much change happening in society, in the workplace and in the world. The more people who can navigate these changes and identify the opportunities to improve and grow, the better!

What change are you leading currently? Remember to top-up your own energy levels. Here's a quick dose of inspiration.. It's my newly redeveloped ebook "The Time Of Your Life" and it's free for all new subscribers to this blog. Keep in touch and I'll see you next time.

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