Change is notoriously difficult to implement. In a study by IBM, 80% of 1,400 individuals responsible for introducing change initiatives into their organisations were considered unsuccessful.
Almost everyday, senior managers are investing time and money developing solutions and coming up with improvement initiatives. They then proceed to invest time and money convincing their peers and superiors of the necessity of this change, and will push even more assets into creating a plan until it is finally ready for implementation. Having put so much into this change, you can imagine their surprise, and even their frustration, when their new structure or development is not welcomed with open arms by the whole organisation.
With the perfect solution and a rigorous plan, surely every part of the puzzle should slot together to form a successful change? But the failure suggests that there is something missing, and just like searching for a rogue jigsaw piece, it may only be found by employing a fresh pair of eyes.
So, let’s take look at change from a different perspective…
Every level of the organisation is introduced to a new development or change. The change is to solve a problem they weren’t aware of, will work in a way they don’t understand, and will likely affect them in a way they have no way of anticipating. Now, you can imagine their surprise, and even their frustration, when they are expected to welcome the new structure or development with open arms.
This shared frustration and surprise from both those initiating the change and those subjected to it is the biggest, but often most ignored indicator of where initiatives are going wrong: A simple lack of leadership.
The importance of Leadership in change
Change ready organisations monitor the success of projects not just in terms of money and time, but in acceptance and engagement. This acceptance and engagement can only be achieved through good leadership. Starting from the top and working their way through all areas of the company, a leader should communicate, unite and empower, until the entire organisation can clearly see the bigger picture.
Communicating the need for improvement to all involved will generate much needed support and reduce resistance. By first highlighting the current issue, you can then explain the real benefits of the change.
A leader will not only communicate the benefits that will be received by the organisation as whole, but also the personal advantages to each individual. To do this successfully, they must be empathetic to the needs and motivations of everyone, and adapt their style, process and channels of communication accordingly. Ultimately, this open communication will help to unite the organisation, propelling a change initiative in a way that is impossible to do alone.
Unite and empower
To unite an organisation, a leader must become a role model at the forefront of the change, talking the talk and walking the walk. Offering a real life example of someone thriving in the face of change will reduce the fears and anxieties people often feel when they are asked to readjust.
While those responsible for change must lead from the front, it is also vital that they empower others to become change leaders throughout the organisation. By identifying the major influencers within the company, regardless of their hierarchical position, they can create an invaluable system of strong advocates for change.
Of course, finding the correct solution and developing an effective plan is vital to any change initiative, but considering how this change will be led is of equal importance. Neglecting to invest in leadership will not only add to the sad statistics of unsuccessful change initiatives, but will instantly make any time, effort and money that you have invested redundant. So, while ensuring strong leadership throughout your organisation is not always simple or straightforward, the rewards are invaluable.
If finding the missing piece of the puzzle has inspired you to improve your leadership skills, why not get in touch on 0800 066 3749. With a wide range of professional courses designed to develop leaders into influential change agents, we are sure to find the perfect option for you.