Organizational changes tend to occur in reaction to specific circumstances or unforeseen events. Is it even possible, then, to develop a plan for change? The answer is yes, and here’s why. In order to transform themselves efficiently and quickly, organizations need to plan in advance for the methods they’ll use to develop the mind-set and skills necessary to lead change.
According to the Harvard Business Review, about 70% of all change initiatives fail, a figure that supports just how difficult planning change can be. One reason organizations struggle with planning for change is that they tend to look at leadership development and change management as separate entities. When viewed as interrelated challenges, however, it becomes clear that your organization will need to develop leadership first if any significant changes—and accomplishments—are to be realized. When your leaders have a planned vision, they are in a much better position to make proposals, solve problems, and influence people, all necessary steps in effecting change.
Three Key Elements to Effecting Change
Once your organization has established a clear change management vision, you can begin the process of building team leaders to carry it out. You’ll need to give your leaders structure, support, motivation, and accountability, and then stay actively engaged, supporting any specific change project activities.
How do you bring together those activities of leadership development and change management? It starts with a rigorous, process-oriented change management approach that can be integrated with your leadership development activities. Any significant organizational transformation comes with challenges that can be best met with strong leadership. Be certain your leaders are fully committed to proposed change before attempting to broadly implement it.
Realistic Results and Outcomes
Change is a process, a journey, that if it is to succeed, needs to engage every member of your organization. Moving too quickly, or failing to carefully weigh change consequences, can be detrimental to your desired results. Leaders must assess potential risks, including employee resistance, if they hope to motivate others within your organization to commit to real change. One of the most effective ways to do so is by winning over the hearts and minds of those most likely to stand in the way of progress.
To paraphrase a popular African proverb, it takes an organization to raise a leader who can plan and effect real change. Ultimately, a leader who understands the elements needed to successfully implement change can mean the difference between a transition that improves your business and boosts employee morale, or one that fails to achieve the necessary objectives for moving your organization forward.