Leading Change

By on October 15, 2010
Leading Change

“The only thing permanent is change.” (Heraclites)

This is especially true in business.

So how does a leader prepare an organization for change, and enable people to take a more positive outlook on changes that will affect them?

Clear communication of thoughts and rationale will help the members of the organization see the need for change, and may prompt some of them to make their own suggestions for change or adaptations to new conditions.

To help people accept the need for change, leaders can:

  • Present the change as an opportunity, rather than a threat.
  • Accept the proposition that people will view change differently and be prepared to approach them using different methods.
  • Gather and share information regarding the external environment, as well as the status of the organization within that environment.
  • Anticipate internal and external barriers to needed change and prepare ways of overcoming them.
  • Enlist the support of other leaders, both formal and informal, to encourage people to look at the changes more positively.
  • Prepare people for the change(s) with open communication, expressions of vision, potential benefits, etc.
  • Lead by example – if belt-tightening is required, the leaders should be the first ones to go on a diet.

Change in organizations is rarely easy, often painful, and always interesting (Chinese curse: “May you live in interesting times.”). Effective leaders will provide the tools necessary for their organizations to meet the challenges and opportunities presented by change.

About Barry Schapiro

Barry is the Workforce Solutions Group Practice Leader for Leadership and Professional Development. His experience includes delivery and management of business training in a variety of industries, with specialties in leadership, team development, generational diversity, and customer service. Twitter

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