When it comes to implementing change within an organization, someone’s got to take the lead. In fact, change management and leadership go hand-in-hand. You simply cannot have one without the other if you want the change to be positive.
But as critical as the role of the leader is in this situation, it’s imperative that every level of an organization is on board. From top-tier executives down to front-line employees, positive change happens when everyone is in support of it.
Why is Change Management Important?
It’s not exactly organizations themselves that change – it’s the people within it that do. When specific initiatives are undertaken in an effort to boost performance or take advantage of opportunities, they typically warrant changes. Whether these changes need to be in the form of different job roles, structural issues, or processes, change is necessary.
But it’s actually the people within the company that do the changing. And with a positive attitude towards the adoption of the changes needed to reach these goals, the desired results can be expected.
And that’s where change management comes into the picture. This discipline guides employees at all levels of an organization in preparing for, and dealing with, the change to come. It helps adequately arm employees with the tools and support needed to be successful at adopting change to boost the odds of success.
There are specific actions that leaders can take to impact individuals in their specific roles. Effective change management offers a streamlined method of helping individuals transition from their current positions to adopt future roles.
Leaders Don’t Always Have to Be Those at the ‘Top’
When we speak of ‘leaders,’ we aren’t always necessarily talking about the powers-that-be. Instead, we’re referring to those who have a powerful influence on others. While it could very well be the CEO, it could also be someone in accounting, or someone else in HR.
Regardless of their specific position in the organization, they are the ones who people listen to, who have a positive influence on others, and who people are naturally and comfortably drawn to.
Regardless of what rank they hold within the organization, they are critical to the success of change implementation and management.
And once these ‘leaders’ have been identified, it’s important to get them on board with the change initiative. It’s imperative to communicate to the people how the change can have a positive influence on their day-to-day activities, and how the initiative being proposed can improve the organization as a whole.
Everyone wants to be a part of an organization that thrives. Ultimately, everyone within such an organization will benefit from this fact, so it’s extremely helpful to make that message clear to those who you’re hoping will be your support advocates.
Approach Your Biggest Supporters First
When it comes time to get the ball rolling in the change department, the first people that should be approached are those who are likely to be the cheerleaders of change. There will always be those in a company who are adversaries to change, or to any other initiative that requires a certain level of support. But these are precisely the people who should not be approached until the very last.
All focus and effort from the onset of change management should be placed on those who are avid supporters of the initiatives, and who also hold a great deal of influence on others. That way, they will be much more likely to communicate the message across their own connections, thereby developing a sound foundation upon which your change initiative can be built.
The stronger the team of change, and the bigger it gets, the more likely the change initiative is to succeed. But it’s got to come from all levels.
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