Achieving breakthrough in business or cultural results requires people operating at higher states of thinking and acting. The mindset and behavior of blaming curtails high performance. Blame culture is the single largest drain of human potential in organizations and will prevent you from achieving the breakthroughs you need to achieve your vision.
After observing and working with senior sponsors of organizational change for four decades, we have seen the best and the worst. Are you a good sponsor? Are you doing what your change efforts need to be successful and sustainable over time?
Co-creating is a way of thinking and relating with others who are working toward the same outcomes. It is a simple and powerful approach that completely alters the terrain of political mine fields and competition. It's defined as individuals or teams working together across boundaries to do whatever is necessary to achieve WIN-Win-Win outcomes.
Do you have too much change happening in your organization? Is there too little meaningful oversight and capacity to handle it all well? Are your leaders living in their own siloed worlds and failing to consider the broader organizational repercussions of their change projects? Do you wish you had a sane way to get on top of it all and align your leaders to do what is best for the organization as a whole?
Now you have a way: the Enterprise Change Agenda. This is the most important change leadership system and process you can build into your organization at the top. With all the change happening in organizations today the Enterprise Change Agenda gives CEOs a clear and organized mechanism to get their arms around it all and lead it effectively. It is a key strategy for ensuring the organizational alignment of change.
Sponsoring transformational change requires you, as CEO, to understand what makes people tick, both what ignites their passion and commitment and what causes them to resist change. It is also imperative to be strategic about the changes required in your organization’s culture—a key factor that will make your change sustain long term.
Large, complex change – especially transformational change – impacts people and processes across boundaries (boundaries of role, function, process, and organization). Organizational transformation demands cross-boundary support among your top executives; this support is a non-negotiable requirement of success.
As CEO, it is your job to create alignment, commitment, and support in your top executive team to ensure they are individually and collectively doing all that is necessary to make your company transformation successful. This is key to your role as the sponsor of this level of change.
Here is a troubling fact directly impacting the success of change: The people most affected by changes in their organization are not asked what they think will work best to achieve what the organization needs. Many leaders don’t consider asking for input from target group stakeholders when designing or implementing changes.
Leaders of change initiatives often use strategies for change that announce, mandate, threaten, pressure, or expect people to change because the leaders say so. As a strategy to motivate employees, this does not work, people will likely resist or rebel. Or they may make it look like they are going along and then revert to their old ways. Outside-in change strategies, such as executive mandates, top-down communications, or forcefully imposing new practices cause resistance, fear, and anxiety for people. These conditions do not leave people wanting to change or able to change effectively.
What is a Case for Change?
When you initiate a change in your organization, your stakeholders and leaders will have questions about what is changing, why it is needed, the scope of the change, its urgency, outcomes, etc. Great change leadership starts with your case for change. Your case for change answers these questions so your impacted stakeholders and leaders can understand the purpose for the change initiative.
Most organizations have many change initiatives occurring at once, in all parts of the organization, large and small – all making demands on people. Employees know they are being asked or pressured to change, but they often do not know why in terms that are meaningful to them. This makes it difficult for them to have a personal commitment to change. Leaders often interpret lack of employee commitment as resistance, but it is more likely stakeholders not understanding why the changes are essential to the success of the business, and importance of their role in it.
Photo Credit: Rich Faber
The absence of an overall initiative alignment and integration strategy results in change being run through multiple, separate, or competing sub-projects. It also results in initiatives being led as independent efforts, even when many may interface or impact one another or the same parts of the organization.This demonstrates a lack of sufficient alignment and integration among all the changes required for an overall change program. Without it, leading transformational change can be more like herding cats. What is needed is making them all a part of one unified effort with an overall change strategy that integrates outcomes, plans, resources, and pace.