Effective Changes Make Change Effective

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How organizations can prepare for the changes in change management

Almost all of us, whether personally or professionally, have been involved in large-scale changes in our lives or jobs. Managing organizational change requires the right leadership and mindset. But change management cannot be effective in a vacuum. Although that may cause you to panic  and wonder, “How can my organization handle dramatic adjustments if someone isn’t in charge of these developments?” Trying to keep change in the hands of only one group or department is actually counterproductive.

As a project leader, you can play a unique role in keeping change management from becoming stagnant. Further, by developing adaptive leadership skills – such as understanding the external environment, and being able to influence stakeholders – will only make change management more effective across the business. Operating in the middle, an adaptive leader can communicate up, down, and across and help create the type of culture that will facilitate effective change management.

So what do we need to know about adjusting our approach to change?

1. Buy In

Rather than keeping the C-suite in charge of any and all changes in an organization, getting employees at all levels involved is dramatically more effective. If a team has invested time and energy into crafting a change for the company, they will have a certain degree of ownership over the project. This will encourage commitment at a level that is unlikely to occur if employees are just trying to fulfill someone else’s vision. An adjustment like this could feel very foreign companies that are used to a more top down approach of management. But, working with your organization on a large scale to actually think through and understand the changes you want to make is integral to implementing effective change. Employees are less responsive to changes that are just being “done to them,” but changes that they consider necessary because they actually are invested in a solution is likely to generate significantly more enthusiasm.

2. Positive Outlooks

Gallup found that one key motivator of getting people onboard with change was focusing on the positives. Rather than looking at a problem and trying to come up with a solution, evidence suggests that envisioning and discussing an ultimate goal, then figuring out what steps it would take to get there produces much higher motivation and satisfaction. And when you have the whole organization working on this, you continue to develop buy in and ownership from all levels.

3. Increased Agility

When you have buy in at all levels, you also have more agility and flexibility. Keeping change under control of one group usually means the every step is planned out. While that may make sense on paper, in reality, unforeseen issues, setbacks, or new developments are likely to occur in even the best laid plans. Having a whole organization on board with a change makes everyone little more agile to respond quickly to an adjustment rather than if adjustments need to be made from the top down every time.

While many organizations still hire specifically for change management roles or even outsource this work to consultants, we’re seeing a decentralization of change management officers and a shift to spread this skill set across all levels of the business. With the prevalence and frequency of change in today’s unpredictable business environment, bringing this adaptive skill set and mindset will further accelerate the success of enterprise-wide change management.


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Strategy Execution

TwentyEighty Strategy Execution, the global authority in project leadership training, equips your people with the complete package of technical and leadership skills — the mindset, adaptability,
and expertise to lead and execute projects in any context. With curricula in adaptive strategic execution, project management, business analysis, contract management, and more, Strategy Execution partners with your organization to build skill sets and change mindsets. It’s time to declare a new standard of performance. For more information, visit strategyex.com.
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