Leaders are not automatically experts in managing change
The most significant change an organisation will experience stems from within its own leadership.
It is often assumed and expected that a leadership team will take the lead in guiding staff through periods of change and in fact are expected to manage a change programme.
Being a leader of a ‘business as usual’ function does not necessarily qualify someone to manage a large change programme. This type of thinking is lethal and contributes to the 85% failure rate of large business initiatives who never achieve the benefits outlined in their original business case. Leaders who actively increase their knowledge of how change is executed and who develop and strengthen their leadership skills are far more capable to lead and navigate their people through periods of change.
You cannot assume that all members of a leadership team will be fully committed throughout a change programme. In most cases, a lot of discussion and debate will have occurred before any business initiative is agreed and committed to. This includes agreements and disagreements on scope, approach and validity of the change component. To significantly improve the chances of success for any change programme, the entire leadership team needs to believe and commit to it. It is important to note that you will need to consistently monitor the commitment of the leadership throughout a change programme because the reality is, most leaders will experience typical reactions to change similar to the people they are leading.
Remember that all people react to change in different ways so you cannot assume that everyone on a leadership team will respond to change in the same way. I talk about this in my previous article [click here for article].
A critical success factor for any change programme is to sharpen the leadership skills of executive team members so they are prepared and capable of leading staff through change.
The first step to sharpening the leadership skills of executive team members is to strengthen their ability to listen. Listening builds team morale, trust, respect, commitment and support. As an experienced coach and consultant for many leadership teams and change programmes, I have discovered that no matter how good your intentions, preparations and strategy is, ‘success always begins with listening.’
DO YOU NEED TO SHARPEN YOUR LISTENING SKILLS?
The Five Levels of Listening Short Course and 5L coaches can prepare your leadership teams to manage change more effectively.
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