Having been invited present for just 30 minutes at an industry conference this month on the topic of change it served as an excellent catalyst to consider what are the 3-ultimate ingredient’s in delivering successful change in organisations.
We are all facing unprecedented levels of change, which has been well reported in this newsletter over its life, and if this is one certainly, we can all agree on, it’s that speed of change is getting faster and faster.
This leads me to the first key aspect we notice with organisations we work with that deal with change more effectively. For most change is something that needs to be managed, using the classic, planning and control to drive improved predictability and inevitably short term benefits. However, the alternative, that I see at high performing organisations, promote Change Leadership, instead of Change Management, They focus on establishing direction, aligning people, motivating and inspiring them . This produces deep and sustainable change, particularly for the long term.
Curiously, change stops being an event that management “handles”, but instead becomes intrinsic to how leadership thinks and acts. You could argue this further illustrates the difference between ‘good managers’ and ‘Great Leaders’.
What we next notice in the organisations that are more agile and resilient to the incredible external forces action upon on them, is their ability to work from “Why” rather than “What’. They bring Simon Sineck’s Golden Circle to life by taking the time for their people to understand the organisational purpose and moreover their own purpose.
When we are fixated on just the what’s i.e. short term numbers, it is obvious that for example, sales people will be resistant to changes which alter their belief in their ability to earn. However, when you have those same people working from “Why” in their role .. i.e. to Build Value with our customers, then change can be more easily accepted and integrated. (Pre-supposing the change is a aligned with creating value with customers).
The Third aspect that underpins Change leadership and working from Why, is the presence of a culture that raises awareness and accountability i.e. A Performance Coaching culture. It should be no surprise that as team members become more competent, they become more confident, especially when dealing with new or challenging situations delivered by change.
The great organisations we work with are seeing the impact of ensuring that every individual is ‘on the learning curve’. By every, they mean every, it is not something just reserved for new starters or the already self-motivated. They recognise that if you are going to stay competitive in this incredible market environment, then a whole workforce that is becoming systematically more effective, becomes a serious competitive advantage. At worst , this resilience should be seen as a business imperative for ever faster changing times.
To highlight this, we see organisations that we work with now targeting their leadership to spend 40% of their time coaching. Many spend up to 60% of their time helping their people become more effective in their roles. The wonderful added consequence of this is that team members are becoming more resourceful, self-determined and more effective, requiring less Leadership support. This ultimately liberates the Leadership to spend more time working on the business rather than working in the business i.e. They now have the band width to look ahead and anticipate the impacts of change and so being able to lead it!
For those than we hear say; ‘we don’t have time to coach’, we reply if you want to thrive in this new world, ‘you don’t have time, not too!’. In the end, you need to decide if you want to ‘lead’ , which means do the hard yards and reap the extra-ordinary benefits or be a follower and manage your way through the problem, deliver ‘predictability’, which is a good degree simpler, but the rewards are by definition limited by the constraints of your own thinking and finite abilities of your own people.
If you would like to discuss how to develop a change leadership culture please feel free to contact me, i would be very happy to explore if and how we could help your organisation create your own competitive advantage by leading change.
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