Transformational change in business is inevitable. Does your organization have the right leadership to manage it?
Most new projects or strategic initiatives have organization-wide implications. Often, anyone in the business who might be affected could be resistant to change. Managing transformational change is integral to strategic and adaptive leadership. Understanding how to bring everyone, from the C-suite down, into the process and work with them to accomplish change is critical to a company’s success.
These four key actions can help you successfully navigate and get people on board with transformational change.
Assess the Risk
Many projects fail because they do not align to organizational strategy. Understanding the risks involved in projects before they begin will allow leadership to make wise choices about how to proceed and transition. When risks are properly assessed and contingencies are identified and communicated, far-reaching strategic initiatives are more often successful.
Communicate with Affected People
It is imperative that when a significant change is happening, leadership communicates with both the workers who might be most affected by the change as well as project stakeholders.
Workers who will be affected by a transition, but left out of planning are often resistant to changes that appear to be forced upon them. Keeping lines of communication open with these people can both help them accept the change and also provide leadership with useful feedback from employee experiences.
Taking decisive action on large projects requires stakeholder approval. Make sure to keep all key stakeholders apprised of changes your company may be making so you can get consent beforehand, and not waste time, money, or resources if an uninformed stakeholder vetoes the change further down the line.
Don’t Over-Plan—But, Don’t Under-Plan Either
Change can be difficult and involve a lot of moving pieces. Coming up with a plan that is too rigid can alienate workers or stakeholders who are trying to contribute to a change. Having a good sense of the first few steps in a change is a smart plan, but leaving room and flexibility for movement better facilitates contributions from others if outside circumstances change. As a project leader managing change, employees will look to you for answers. It’s important to find the right balance of guidance and collaboration.
Put the Right People in Charge
Make wise choices about who is leading a change in your company. Not all leaders have the skills to effectively execute change. Leaders should be adaptive enough to respond to unexpected shifts, and also able to leverage their relationships in order to provide answers and assurances to everyone involved. An adaptive leader should also have a holistic perspective and vision, excitement but a realistic understanding of the project, and use their position to empower others and respond to feedback. These attributes can contribute to successfully leading a group through transformational change.
Transformational change is inevitable for most organizations, and managing it well can be pivotal for the longevity of a company. Bringing adaptive leaders on board to lead transformational projects is critical to ensuring successful change management.