by Dr. David Robinson
Most leaders desire change but only a few are willing to learn what it takes and how to implement productive and sustainable change. If you are tired of the “status quo” and want things to change for your organization here are seven keys that will help:
1. Create a Sense of Urgency:
Strategic leaders create the future and managing leaders guide the daily affairs. Leaders determine direction and focus while managers watch the performance and determine the numbers. Together, they must create a sense of urgency strong enough to overcome the status quo and change present reality.
2. Create a Vision for Change:
Good ideas and talking points should never substitute for setting goals. Until you set measurable goals, change is never significant or sustainable. Sustainable change involves maximizing the value of what you do and increasing your team’s capabilities. All team members must embrace the tension between the two before change is effective, significant and sustainable. You cannot have one without the other.
3. Create Passion for Change:
Use every vehicle possible in communicating your vision and strategy for change. Maximize the value and benefits without hiding the temporary negatives and challenges. Find a way to communicate the negative in a positive way. Great leaders communicate with words and deeds. Nothing undermines change more than leaders’ behavior that is inconsistent with their words. Passionate leaders create passion through saturation communication.
4. Create a Persuasive Guiding Coalition:
Assemble a team of influencers outside the normal hierarchy strong enough to lead the change. They must have credibility, able to produce early wins, while laying the foundation for new systems, structures, and policies bringing significant and sustainable change.
Team members not committed to change, loyal to leadership’s intent, and unable to persuade others to follow, should not be on this coalition.
5. Create a Clear Path to the New Vision:
The guiding coalition empowers others to act by successfully communicating the new vision for change, giving them increased focus, and a new direction. Too often, team members get excited about change and want to help make it happen but an elephant appears to be blocking the path forward. Sometimes the elephant is a mental block and sometimes the obstacle is real. Either way, great leaders find a way to remove it and allow creativity and innovation to flow unhindered.
6. Anchor Change in the Corporate Culture:
Change sticks when it becomes a way of life and not just a new discipline everyone must follow. Only new behaviors produce significant and sustainable change. Until new behaviors become rooted in “that’s how we do things around here” (shared values), they soon fall by the wayside.
Conscious effort is made by showing team members how these new methods, behaviors, and skills are making a difference. Everyone must make the connection or changes will not be sustainable.
7. Develop Leaders That Model & Support Change:
Without supportive current and future leaders at every level, significant and sustainable change is doubtful. It only happens in organizations where teamwork, high commitment, and a constant learning curve is the norm.
Those in line for promotion to top leadership positions must personify the new corporate culture in their present position before consideration for advancement.