The secrets to successful change leadership

Change and leading change are not for the faint of heart, but there are several ways/things to keep in mind to help the change process be more successful and effective. Here are five of them.

  1. Failure to Plan is Planning to Fail

These questions must be addressed before embarking on the change: What exactly is it that we are hoping to change? Who will be involved and what resources will be necessary? How will we communicate the change and its progress? What setbacks are we likely to incur along the way? How will we deal with these setbacks? What do we want the end result to be?

As the late Yogi Berra was fond of saying, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll wind up somewhere else.” 

  1. Check Your Emotions at the Door

 Being human necessarily means that we feel emotions. Many times we allow these emotions to influence and color our decision making. When considering a change, we must recognize the impact that our emotions have and then mitigate them as best as possible. Is the change (and/or our reactions to the process) rooted in emotion or logic?

Can we take a step or two back from the process and take another look? Can we involve someone else that doesn’t have an emotional stake to help analyze the situation? And of course, when the change suffers a setback, can we react logically and not emotionally?

  1. Root Causation Discovery is Critical to Success 

Sometimes the problem we think is the problem is not the real problem at all. When we are confronted with a problem, we naturally and immediately start thinking of solutions.

Unfortunately, many times this leads to alleviation of a symptom and not the real problem. We must be able to dig deep to discover the root problem, if we hope to be successful changing to alleviate it. Using 5-Why and other methods will better help us identify the real issue and give us a much better change at successful change.

  1. There is no Such Thing as Over Communication

 The reason many of us fear change is actually the fear of the unknown. The unknown is so scary that we would rather take an adverse known than risk a beneficial unknown. The best way to greatly reduce the unknown and thus greatly reduce the fear involved is through constant communication with all involved.

However, this communication must be clear, honest, appreciative, relevant and timely throughout the change process. With change, it is much better to risk repeating things than to risk not communicating something at all. And with change, we must get rid of the need-to-know-only syndrome. Everyone needs to know.

  1. Encourage Intelligent Fast Failure 

Every change initiative, regardless of how well it is planned, will encounter a setback or two. Counterintuitively, if we allow for limited-in-scope rapid experimentation, we can learn things that will help the overall change initiative be more successful.

Even though this necessarily means that we will be failing more often, if we are open to realizing lessons learned, the initiative will be strengthened significantly.

Moe Glenner speaks and writes about leadership, communications, change management and innovation. To learn more about Moe, please visit his website,  Moe’s new book: ‘Plus Change: Genesis of Innovation’ is available on Amazon and at your local bookstore.