Leadership Ideas for Busy People – 5 stages for Leading Change
We live in complex times and change is the only constant. But it doesn’t have to be random and as leader you can scaffold the process. There are many models; Kotter has an 8 step one. Here’s my 5 step version if 8 is too many to remember, as it is for me.
1. Prepare the ground.
If a need for change has been identified, or even imposed externally, signal to all parties that changes are coming and importantly why they are happening. Prepare and use rational arguments to support the need for change. Model relishing change rather than seeming put upon. It presents an opportunity even when it does not initially appear so.
Consult as widely as possible and be prepared to use good ideas. Be clear about the status of consultation; enabling people to contribute to the new future rather than negotiating the best deal.
Expect resistance – this is natural but don’t be moved off track if change is imperative. Be prepared to make shifts where feasible.
2. Plan by creating a clear timed route map.
Use a Change Team with staff from different levels across the organisation to prepare and deliver the plan. Decide whether you are going to start small, working with willing participants or involve the whole organisation.
Publicise the plan well so that everyone is in the know. Build in early reviews – see stage 4
Be realistic about timing. It always takes longer than you think.
3. Implement as agreed and deliver the promises made.
Use the Change Team to monitor implementation and to gather feedback. Give praise for people’s efforts to adopt new practices. Keep the momentum so that it is not possible to revert to old practices and default behaviours. Expect an implementation dip early in the change process. Be prepared to regain the momentum.
4. Review progress regularly.
Take feedback early and frequently and make adaptations in the light of experience if necessary. Recognise and reward good progress towards the changes required. Be prepared for glitches and respond productively.
5. Embed new systems or procedures.
Really this is about new behaviours and changing the culture of the organisation. Changing the way people do things. This takes times and like all big life changes needs a minimum of 2 years . Focus on the outcomes you want to achieve and what you want people in the organisation to think, feel say and do differently as a result of the changes to procedures and practices. Enable them to change overtime rather than overnight.
Look out for a forthcoming blog about dealing with resistance.
Michael Fullan (Leading in a Culture of Change) talks about seeing results as;
More good things happen
Fewer bad things happen.
How far can you live with change outcomes framed in this way?