How To Lead Change Effectively
Leading effectively is a challenge under the best of circumstances. It’s especially so in an environment of change and transition. People are unsure about the future, and this ambiguity feeds the aversion to risk. In such an atmosphere, people need comfort and confident direction, not a drill sergeant. These guiding principles are the foundation of leading change. We didn’t invent the principles. They are timeless. If these principles resonate with you, you’re well on your way to being a Change-Friendly practitioner. Try these on for size:
Keep it simple; Back to basics. Systems thinking examines the big picture to reveal the multiplicity of causes and effects. Smart organizations use it to find simple and cost-effective solutions to a wide range of performance issues. They sort through loops and links, ask the right questions and diagnose before they prescribe.
Make results, not excuses. Denial causes smart people to do dumb things because they prefer not to see, or simply can’t see, a warning signal. In most cases, it’s not a character flaw. It’s simply a part of being human. Worried about symptoms? Get real. Rush to the root causes. Create results, not excuses.
Control the journey. Every organization is perfectly aligned to get the results it’s getting. Unsatisfied with the results? Check your map and compass.
Be a gardener. Go for growth. A first tendency of many business people is to fix things. But successful leaders invest energy in growing rather than fixing. They know the organization is a living organism with many interrelated elements, capable of extinction or growth. Successful leaders are gardeners. They create a nurturing environment and they cultivate with care.
Lead the whole person. Some managers seem to regard people as stomachs. They try to motivate only with salary and benefits. Successful organizations use a different approach. They lead the whole person. People have heads. They want to grow and develop intellectually. They want to learn. Give them a good reason and they’ll even stretch their own comfort zones. People have hearts. They want to be treated with kindness, respect and dignity. They want good relationships. They want to feel appreciated. People have spirits. They want meaning in life. They want context. They want to be inspired. And they want to know that what they contribute really matters, that they fit.