There is nothing new in saying that leadership is critical to change. However, as a leader of large-scale, transformational change, PA believes that you are now likely to find yourself facing requirements that may go beyond your previous experience.
Traditionally the focus of change leadership has emphasised “hard” components like overseeing implementation of new structures and systems; managing the less emotional people dimensions of change, such as re-skilling people or reallocating them between functions; and ensuring that appropriate resources are in place to deal with obstacles and to communicate progress and successes.
However, these traditional change management activities are not sufficient to deliver the kind of complex, transformational change that we are facing today. Softer aspects, including emotional elements such as identifying and addressing employee resistance, are just as important as the hard aspects, if not more so.
The pace, scale and associated complexity of change mean that leaders are often required to set the organisation off on the change process before the destination is fully understood. This requires a level of sophistication and maturity, because personal values and behaviours may need to be shifted at the same time as seeking to create change in others. More often than not, it will be necessary to manage business as usual while transforming for tomorrow.
Managing these aspects effectively makes very different demands on you as a change leader. It requires an overall approach to delivering change that addresses both the rational and the emotional elements. It demands that you invest time in people, at an individual and personal level, to galvanise them and garner genuine commitment to the changes. It asks you to define, create and sustain conditions for success at all levels. It requires you to build the conditions for ongoing change and self-renewal, and above all it means you need to tolerate and even enjoy ambiguities and setbacks, and enable others to do the same.
As you reflect on your change leadership style, you may want to consider the following questions in relation to any major change programme within your organisation:
Do I understand how people are really feeling about this change?
Do I know what I need to do to help people get behind what we need to achieve?
Am I clear on how my own behaviours impact the change?
Am I being a role model for change?
Am I creating the right conditions in the organisation for the change to be successful once it is fully implemented?
Mastering the emotional aspects of change can make all the difference to the delivery of any major business transformation. If you would like to discuss your reflections - and the techniques available to you as a change leader to harness the emotional aspects of change - then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more.