How to lead workplace change

20 Apr

To deliver change successfully or, more correctly, to enable change, you need to undertake activities that cover both leading and managing.

Leadership is the process of creating and sustaining purpose, direction and intent such that people become involved to support the purpose. Without leadership, any change is unlikely to get going, and without continual reinforcement through good leadership, a change effort is likely to falter, flag or come to a stop.

So how do you ensure that you get good leading and leadership into your change programmes, projects or initiatives?

1. Ensure that you have a business case that makes sense to those who will be impacted by the change – and remember people outside the business who might also be involved.

2. Ensure that you have some sound personal reasons as to why people should engage. What is in it for them?

3. Get people involved with the change so that they really engage positively with it. This will ensure a greater willingness to change.

4. Communicate, communicate and continue to communicate the purpose and direction of the change.

Furthermore, If you are involved in leading a change, here are eight key questions you should know the answers to:

  • Do you know the business case for the change?
  • Are you clear about the purpose and direction?
  • Is the impact on you and others clear?
  • Have you created a strong sense of urgency yet?
  • Have you got a group of people around you who are committed to the change?
  • Is it understood that any change will be messy and that the path to the end will not be straight and flat?
  • Do you know where to go and get help when things do not go as expected?

Managing Change 

While we have stressed the importance of leading and leadership in delivering change, management and managing activities are also necessary.

Once the appropriate leadership activities have been put in place – the vision and direction have been defined and people are changing their behaviours – then the management processes and mechanisms for planning and monitoring change have their place.

The set of management activities that we have found to be a useful complement to leadership activities can be summed up under the heading of programme management.

Programme Management

  • Strategic positioning – clear objectives for delivering operational performance improvement
  • Readiness for change – realistic assessment of change capability
  • Integration of change agendas – incorporate changes to systems, business processes, organisation and work practices
  • Project management – use proven methodology, but adapt it to your needs
  • Involvement – ensure wide involvement in design and delivery
  • Communication – continual, and both formal and informal
  • Measurement – keep track on progress

In Summary

Effective change only occurs when there is a marriage between good leading and good managing.

Courtesy of People Alchemy (follow them on Twitter @peoplealchemy) 

Catalyst deliver highly successful leadership and management training courses in which we deal with the subject of change management and how to effectively lead change. Please visit our website to find out more:


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