Successful Change Leadership
Change Leadership, in its very essence, should focus upon improvement and growth. Without an actual purpose, and driving change only for the sake of change, change is a waste of everyone´s time.
Well organized is half done, but only very successful plans always have space for modifications. Only geniuses can master chaos, and however much we love agile project management, an essential skill for any change leader is the ability of focusing on key strategic issues, drive change with a dynamic effort, and with the goal in mind. (Green, M. Change Management Masterclass. 2007.)
Leading change equals the ability of leading development through enabling continuous growth, and improvement. Leading change is also strategizing, and an ability of analyzing the PESTLE environment. In organizational settings, change management programs and projects need to be based upon the organization´s vision, mission, and strategy. Change projects, however narrow or extensive, will be successful when core values, goals, constant work, and communication are well aligned. Depending upon the needs and the breadth of the change initiative, mobilizing everyone involved is of outmost importance. In the organizational setting, change has to be led simultaneously and with consistence throughout the whole organization, and on individual level. Traditionally, change has been thought of as something activated and triggered from top management, but in today´s learning organizations change initiatives can come from anyone, and basically anyone in an organization can be a change agent, formally or informally. In any organization, it is important for management to understand, that the needs for change may also be communicated from employees who are in direct customer contact, e.g. based upon feedback from customers. Therefore, in traditional, hierarchical settings, change can very well be initiated from a “lower” organizational level upwards. In democratic, low-hierarchy organizations, change projects can be successfully executed through participation of everyone involved. Successful involvement also increases the level of integrity. The most successful organizations also know how to involve their clients when driving change.
“One person can be a change catalyst, a transformer in any situation, any organization. Such an individual is yeast that can leaven an entire loaf. It requires vision, initiative, patience, respect, persistence, courage, and faith to be a transforming leader”.
(Mike Green. Change Management Masterclass. 2007)
Successful change management projects do require realistic, but also optimistic individuals with a strong desire for achievement. Change management also requires a lot of dreaming, and daring. A change project must be managed skillfully, and if there is a strict budget, it is even more important to meet the financial target. However, how can the final financial gain be calculated if the project is successful in for example advancement of knowledge and learning, or even satisfaction index of employees? If the organization e.g. sets a goal to develop sales skills, the return on investment may be a lot better than first calculated. Therefore, e.g. employee development is a very important factor for organizational development.
In short, before becoming a change agent and thus a catalyst for change, practice on your pitch and make sure to have responses to the following questions:
– What kind of change do I want to initiate?
– What are the circumstances (i.e. am I acting as an informal/formal change agent, and in what kind of a setting, e.g. as an entrepreneur, a consultant, an employee, a middle manager, a customer/client, a member of an organization, a citizen and so on)?
– Who do I need to involve in successfully driving the change initiative?
– What is/are the goal/s?
– What kinds of risks are involved (if any)?
– What kind of communication does this require, and how will I communicate successfully?