No business leader worth their salt would run their business without a solid business strategy. In today’s dynamic marketplace, executing those business strategies often requires change, frequently massive transformational change.
Launching your change initiatives effectively is critical to ensure your highest probability of success. Effective launch minimizes the inertia and rework that saddles many change initiatives.
Sponsorship: One of the Most Important Leadership Roles in Change
In any change initiative, the sponsor is one of the most important change leadership roles. This is especially true if your change initiative is transformational where real breakthrough is the goal. By now, you probably know the data that 60-70% of all change initiatives fail. As a change leader or change consultant, you rely on your change sponsor to ensure that your change initiative succeeds. As you may have experienced, the level of skill, knowledge, and thinking of change sponsors can vary drastically. Understanding the capability of your sponsors can help you to assist in their development as change leaders to up-level the quality of their sponsorship.
A year ago, I had the realization that there was something I wasn't seeing in my work as an organizational change professional. With 7 years of change management experience under my belt, here I was supporting another change and for the second time in my career, a part of this transformational change implementation wasn't going smoothly. It was clear that several months of rework would be required to achieve the results we sought. It was frustrating, and it was time to figure out what I wasn't seeing so as not to make this same mistake blindly again.
Many change initiatives struggle because multiple organizational change models and tools are at play simultaneously. Most organizations have invested in several ways of supporting change initiatives, including project management, change management, The Change Curve, Prosci, Continuous Improvement, Agile, and Lean Six Sigma.
The underlying intent of employee development is to create desired change from within, so that the company can succeed in making its changes stick. Providing feedback is essential to quality employee development. So, how can you deliver training feedback—whether positive or negative—in a way that promotes effective change? How do you deliver it in a way that employees will receive it well and ensure that it makes a lasting difference to them and the organization?
"It's my personal approach that creates the climate. It's my daily mood that makes the weather." -Haim Ginott
You're an executive, and you’ve come up with brilliant ideas to transform your organization into a better, more successful company. Now, all you have to do is enact these major changes and your organization will be better for it. But wait - who will lead this change? Unclear change leadership can lead to confusion in roles, governing structure, decision-making, resourcing, timeline, prioritization, and conflicts with daily operations.
Our brains are hardwired to resist change. When change (especially organizational change) is mentioned or introduced, it often triggers a fear response, which is why most of us are so darn resistant to our familiar world deviating from what we know, even by the smallest degree.
Most organization transformation originates from executives, but executives cannot make transformation happen alone. Without the help of managers, employees and support staff, these big change initiatives tend to have very little success when initiated into the real world. Leaders must rely on their entire organization to help. Change has the greatest chance of success when it is “co-created,” and a typical “command and control” style of leadership is usually ineffective. Executives must learn how to design change initiatives so that they engage the commitment of other leaders and the workforce.