For information about Richard Bevan's Changemaking please visit www.changestart.com. You will also find free resources, including a 17-page toolkit on Making Meetings Work.

The background may be constant, but change is continuous in the foreground of modern business

 

Change and leadership

Managing change?
Here are seven ideas that might help.

 

1  Acknowledge what you don't know. Be open about the fact that when businesses go through major changes, leaders are working out the details as they go. Enlist support by acknowledging this; seek input and ideas from stakeholders about how you're going to get it done.

 

2  Create a clear and concise summary of the business case: the rationale for change and the strategy for implementing. This must capture and hold the attention of your audiences. You'll need a one-page version. Identify the six to eight core points you want every stockholder, every employee and every customer to know. Then use them consistently.

 

3  Be visible and accessible. Commit time to meeting with stakeholders - especially customers and employees - to understand their needs and concerns, share your vision, engage in two-way communication and build support.

 

4  Recognize limits to what people can take on. Reassign priorities. "They just have to get it done," is a popular approach to managing workloads during change, but other work will suffer, or the new work will get less than full attention. People are resilient, but there are limits. At a certain stress level, quality and quantity begin to suffer.

 

5  Leaders should focus on actions rather than words. Demonstrate what needs to change through your own style and behavior, whether it's being open to ideas, focusing on the needs of your customers, recognizing great results, being flexible and responsive, acting as a team player or following up on your commitments.

 

6  Identify the resisters - especially those who are also opinion-leaders. Assign skeptics to transition teams. Allow them to express their concerns, and challenge them to find ways to solve the problems they identify. Facilitate conversations, discussions and arguments rather then one-way communication or formal Q&A sessions. Attitudes change through persuasion, example and experience, and rarely through one or two communication events.

 

7  Be sure that leaders don't shoot the messengers who bring bad news: you need to know what's not working, and what stakeholders are thinking and feeling.