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8 ways for a Leader to Successfully Implement Change

Leadership

In today’s world, Change is and always will be a constant.  Change is also something every Leader has to deal with no matter what area of business they work in.  Selling and implementing Change is a key Leadership skill but how can Leaders sell and implement Change successfully?  I’ve collated 8 approaches below to help Leaders do exactly this:

  • Understand the implications of not changing

First and foremost, you, as a Leader, need to understand what will happen or not happen if you don’t implement the Change.  In most cases, if the Change doesn’t happen, the organisation, the department, the Team and / or the individual will get left behind in knowledge, technology, procedures etc and this can have a negative impact on everyone.   By understanding the impact of not implementing the Change, you will then have a clearer picture of why the Change needs to happen and how to better sell it.

  • Be an advocate of the change

Look for ways to advocate the Change.  What are the benefits of the Change? What differences will the Change make?  What opportunities will the Change bring?  Get clarity on these and then spread the word; speak up at meetings, Town Halls, write articles or endorsements.  Provide case studies that will support the value of the Change and enlighten others with this information.

  • Get clarity and understand the strategy and vision

I always say to participants when delivering Leadership workshops, you need to translate and understand the Strategy of your organisation so everyone from the top to the bottom understands the role they have in achieving the strategy.  By doing this, you’ll be better able to understand how the Change aligns with the strategy and therefore, you’ll be more effective communicating the Change to others.

  • Allow concerns to be raised openly and honestly

Create an open and honest atmosphere where people feel comfortable raising their issues about the Change.  Therefore, there is no judgement of them or their issue.  You’ll get quicker ‘buy-in’ when you take on board and address peoples’  concerns and issues.

  • Act quickly to remove barriers to the Change

Barriers may be emotional, they may be physical but you need to ensure you remove them or the Change you are trying to implement will come to a stop.  If you have followed and embraced the point above, allow concerns to be raised openly and honestly, then your teams will tell you what the barriers are.  Once you’ve collated a list of these barriers, remove them, overcome them or influence someone else to remove them, immediately or in the short term.  There will be some barriers you may not be able to remove so identify ‘work-arounds’ or ask the team for their suggestions for ‘work-arounds’ – again this is another way to get ‘buy-in’.

  • Identify short-term wins

If you have ever tried to take on a tough task such as training to run a marathon or learning a new language, you will know that it’s easier to work towards your goals in steps and milestones and then celebrate these short terms gains or wins. This propels and motivates you to work towards your end goal. The same goes for implementing Change, look for short-terms wins and celebrate them when you achieve them by giving everyone an extra 10 mins for lunch, allow them to come in a few mins later, leave earlier – anything that doesn’t cost a lot to the organisation but means a lot to the people.

  • Thoroughly analyse pros and cons of each target

You should list the pros and cons of every target you are trying to reach so you can make better decisions and take necessary action when faced with challenging problems along the way.

  • Be open to fresh ideas to achieving the change

Don’t be afraid to take on others’ ideas to reach your goal.  You’ll get more ideas and ‘buy-in’ if you ask others for their suggestions and then act upon them.  This is very empowering to the people or / and Team who came up with the successfully implemented ideas.

Try some or all of the above and watch how much quicker and smoothly your Change will taken on and implemented.

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