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4 Critical Components that Help Deliver Successful, Sustainable Results

4 min read
Components of Successful Change Management and Leadership.

The rate of change today is as fast as it’s ever been. In fact, the typical organization today has undertaken five major firm-wide changes in the past three years — and nearly 75% expect to multiply the types of major change initiatives they will undertake in the next three years. Yet half of change initiatives fail, and only 34% are a clear success (Gartner). The numbers are startling, but not surprising.

To understand the complex challenges leaders and organizations face today as they continue to lead through unprecedented change, we identified 4 critical components. These components are instrumental in assisting change leaders to steer change effectively and achieve resounding success.

1.   PLANNING:  View Change Management as a true business partner.

Developing a comprehensive change plan should happen well in advance of the change and should address all aspects and impacts of the change.

Change leaders should be sure to:

  • Allow ample time to plan, and resist moving too fast.
  • Appoint one lead who is fully responsible for all aspects of the change curve.
  • Meet teams where they are. Lead, coach, and advise leaders and teams throughout the process to guide them to where you want them to be.
  • Establish success metrics. Measure at key points along the change curve.
  • Build change capability by honing leaders’ change leadership skills. Ensure ownership for the change through a viable, long-term, sustainment plan.

2.   ALIGNMENT:  Make the connection to the top.

Affecting successful change is not just the responsibility of one leader. It takes all organizational levels and a solid network with energy, passion, and commitment to be successful.

Change leaders should be sure to:

  • Connect the change to the company’s strategy and clearly message the value proposition of the change. Make every word count – be crisp, clear, and succinct.
  • Engage and align all stakeholders. Ensure that everyone understands the benefits of the change and why the change Is happening.
  • Build leadership action plans for engagement and launch awareness campaigns.
  • Embed the communications strategy with consistent messaging throughout a variety of communication channels that reach all stakeholders.

3.   CHANGE LEADERSHIP APPROACH:  Ensure it is specific and unique to your company.

Every organization is complex and different. The approach for how you lead change should be balanced and take into consideration your company’s culture, the way you run your business, the needs of your people, and the business problem(s) you are trying to solve.

Change leaders should be sure to:

  • Enlist qualified support with skilled, change management expertise who are not limited by one methodology, and who will draft a customized change methodology that will work for you.
  • Co-create the strategy. Collaborate with your change management experts to ensure that your unique business and needs are addressed.
  • Listen, listen, listen.
  • Be prepared to wear multiple hats – business lead, leadership coach, change champion, and chief communicator and supporter of the change.
  • Ruthlessly prioritize based on what adds the most value.
  • Stay connected.

4.   COMMUNICATION:  Adapt to leading in new and different ways.

Facilitating engagement among a remote or partially remote organization takes concerted time, effort, planning, and follow-up.

Change leaders should be sure to:

  • Intentionally seek interaction and engagement.
  • Develop a thorough communications strategy with multiple ways and opportunities to share feedback.
  • Map the timing of communication touch points and prepare questions.
  • Allow time and opportunity for open discussion.
  • Develop authentic connections. Draw people in virtually using short videos and storytelling that is simple, honest, and direct.
  • Take regular pulse checks and be prepared to adjust accordingly.

In addition to planning, alignment, approach, and communication, there is another dimension of successful change that is critical for leadership.

Leaders must also manage through change on two levels: their own reaction and response to change and their team member’s reactions and responses to change.

1.   How can I best take care of my people through the change?

How a company treats its people may affect its brand and company perception and that can impact the bottom line. Recognize and understand change impacts on your management team and on your workforce and be mindful of your role in supporting people through change. Get creative with your support if your team is remote. Remember that with today’s virtual reality and many people still working remotely, it’s harder to see, judge, and react to people/workforce impacts. Put in the extra effort required.

2.   What is my personal commitment to the change i.e., how do I show up for my people?

Humanize the change through your personal commitment, and don’t be afraid to show and share your commitment. Think through and decide on your leadership action plan for how you will engage your team and show up throughout the change. Always be cognizant of how you show up to your peers, your teams, and your employees – let them see the authentic YOU.

3.   Am I seeking the right support to add value to the process; to make change better for both me and my organization?

Change is hard. Successful and sustainable change is even harder. Early on, make sure you have the right resources (with strong, demonstrated, change leadership skills) and training programs in place to help lead a thoughtfully planned, strategically sound, well executed, sustainable change.

As Albert Einstein famously said, “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change.”

It is then the measure of leadership to rally their team, their business, and their organization to plan, orchestrate, and lead through change with success.

Additional Resources:

  1. A New World Needs a New Approach to Change Management. Forbes, Jan. 25, 2022.
  2. Change Is Hard. Here’s How to Make It Less Painful. Harvard Business Review, April 7, 2022.
  3. CEOs, Here’s How to Lead in an Era of Constant Change. Harvard Business Review, June 16, 2022.

*Executive Coaching Connections LLC was acquired by Ariel Group in 2022. They are a global people and organizational development advisory firm that has successfully supported the biggest companies, public, private, and family-owned, and their most senior executives for more than 20 years. They are best known for their proprietary, 8-step coaching methodology which incorporates a holistic approach proven to drive desired results.


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