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Over the years of working with top executives at leading companies, I have seen many an organizational transformation. Sometimes these efforts lead to truly outstanding results. Sometimes they don't.

The key variable in any successful transformation - one that brings the organization to a better place, ensures the realization of a powerful vision and mitigates organizational upset - is the manner in which change is led from above.

Read on to learn how the best leaders successfully drive change.

Leadership: Three Keys to Leading Change

 

Change is not easy. Yet it's the current reality for many organizations. In fact, many companies seem to cycle through periods of substantial change on a frequent or ongoing basis.

Whether you are leading your organization through modest adjustments or a major transformation, be aware that change will invariably invoke varying levels of skepticism, concern, angst and churn among your people. As a leader, your job is to mitigate the disruptive nature of change and rapidly accelerate momentum and progress. The key lies in focusing on the following vital activities.

Convey a Compelling Vision. This is your opportunity to paint an inspirational view of the future of your organization. Where is the company heading? Where will it be in one year, 5 years, 10? Where will the company sit in the marketplace? Who will it serve and how? Spell out the Vision in a way that inspires excitement, buy-in, and a willingness to work through short-term challenges in the pursuit of a brighter future.

Provide Context. How does the current round of change serve the company in pursuing its Vision? How will change impact the organization? How will it affect individuals, teams, departments and business units? Where do individuals and teams fit into the big picture?

Be sure that everyone shares your definition of change. Whichever term you use, remember that words like transformation and innovation generate a wealth of interpretations, implications and reactions. Make sure everyone clearly understands what you're talking about.

Foster Communication. Don't underestimate people's need to hear about what's happening in the organization. Your employees will want clarity and transparency regarding the big picture - and they'll want to know how the company's new direction will play out for them in the near-term and over time. Because learning styles vary per individual, you'll want to employ a variety of approaches to getting your message out there. Town halls, written communications, company-wide video messages, in-person discussions with key teams and individual leaders - these should all be incorporated into your overall approach to communication. Remember, your key leaders will need to cascade your Vision throughout the organization. Their approach and their message should align with yours.

One more reminder: Communication is a two-way street. Openly share information and provide ample opportunity for people to share their reactions, ideas and suggestions. In doing so, you will earn genuine good will and enthusiastic support from those who are on the front lines - the people who will execute change and take your organization to a whole new level.

All the best,  
Liz

liz
  

Liz Bywater, PhD 
President, Bywater Consulting Group 
 
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Copyright 2015. Liz Bywater, PhD. Bywater Consulting Group, LLC. All rights reserved.