Transformational Change Leadership
Studies over the years have indicated that roughly two-thirds of large-scale transformation efforts fail. Successful transformation is hard, really hard. It is critical that leaders understand what they can do to substantially increase the odds that their companies won’t be among the two-thirds of those that fail. Change management refers to a set of basic tools or structures intended to keep any change effort under control. The goal is often to minimize the distractions and impacts of the change. Change leadership, on the other hand, concerns the driving forces, visions and processes that fuel large-scale transformation.
Utilizing the P.E.E.C. approach provides a roadmap for change leaders to successfully navigate transformation.
Before launching any significant transformation, it is important that you have a clear understanding of what is happening within your business, including the external competitive demands and the internal capabilities, that are creating the need for change. Develop a vision of what the results of your successful transformation looks like, identifying the “why” regarding the need for transformation in terms that the organization can understand. Engage your leadership team and key stakeholders early in the proposed change to ensure alignment and ownership. Create a centralized transformation structure, making business leaders responsible and creating a project management organization to provide support and follow up.
Identify and establish the teams for each major “workstream” that will focus on your transformation. Share with them the “why” regarding the need for transformation and the vision of what successful transformation looks like. Engage the teams in defining objectives and deliverables, creating clear milestones, owners and due dates for each deliverable. Ensure that they have the support of the leadership team, realigning priorities and balancing workload to make sure the teams are successful.
Rapid implementation of the necessary changes in processes, systems and people is critical, ensuring that you create an urgency around the need for change and that you do not lose momentum. Utilize a weekly and monthly rhythm of reviews to monitor and track workstream progress. Engage with formal and informal influencers to create a positive image of change and promote it. Ensure overall program schedule and key milestones (target, actions, results accomplishments and issues) are aligned with the broader organization schedule to make sure it is part of running the business.
Communicate, Communicate, Communicate. You can not over communicate. Carefully plan a beginning, middle, and end for change to set employees’ expectations, being sure to share the “why” regarding the need for transformation and what success looks like. Check in regularly with both executives and employees to ensure they’re confident navigating the new reality. Ensure managers understand and share with employees what changes are expected of them. Answer the question - What’s In It For Me – WIIFM. Provide progress updates on a regular basis aligned with your regular organizational communication. Finally, make sure that you celebrate wins and successes.
While formal change processes might be well understood, too many leaders focus on the change management tools and neglect the all-important human side of change. The most effective change leaders devote considerable effort to engaging everyone involved and accelerating the change effort.
About the Author
Greg Wilgenbusch is an Executive Consultant at Human Capital Mentors and has over 25 years of comprehensive Human Resources experience with global leadership teams, in both public and private equity firms, building capabilities and business processes to deliver significant revenue growth and improved profitability.
If your organization is in need of change, we would welcome the opportunity to discuss how we may help your company successfully navigate smaller change efforts or large- scale transformational change.