PrimeFocus™ Mini-Assessment: Complete the Self-Assessment
Change-Readiness Indicator: Complete the Assessment
A 2016 Global Survey by McKinsey & Company titled ‘The people power of transformations’ showed that organizations are no more successful with change projects than they were a decade earlier. It found that employee engagement is key to success in transformational work.
In other words, business leaders are failing to engage people in change. In the VUCA world, what is it that leaders must do better to engage their people in continuous change?
Change must be motivated. It cannot be forced. Inspirational leaders create a sense of urgency for change. They provide impetus of change with a compelling vision of the future and empower a collaborative workplace in which all stakeholders work toward collective goals.
Here are three traits of leaders who inspire continuous change.
Inspirational leaders create a sense of urgency. They remain visible and share stories to describe:
The future if nothing changes
The risks if nothing changes
The possibilities that will be unlocked by making change
Leaders who describe the future with storytelling engage their people on an emotional level. The story compares the status quo to the future opportunity, compelling people to make change. Concerns are considered, and leaders use stories of previous transformations to improve optimism.
Good storytellers create urgency to change by delivering stories of crisis and balancing these with a picture of the vision, and how it affects people personally and positively. This is the big picture to which stakeholders connect.
Leaders recognise opportunities and help their people understand what the future could be.
Leaders spend the time that is needed with their employees to identify and understand problems that exist. Insight is delivered in two directions. By having meaningful conversations with people on the front line, leaders can better understand what isn’t working.
Having conversations about the current state is the first step in a communication process that empowers collaboration and joint ownership of continuous change.
It is also necessary for leaders to develop a risk culture, in which mistakes are not punished but instead are used as experiences from which to learn. Effective leadership of this risk-based culture ensures that risks are measured and controlled. Coaching, training and mentoring is provided to enhance outcomes, and collaboration becomes a cultural norm that drives a change-ready organization.
Leaders who encourage collaboration and involve their people in the design of future vision will find they develop a willingness for continuous change. When people are engaged in the business, collective goals take on new meaning and these provide the energy for people to take ownership and lead the change effort.
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