Leading Change – Enabling Change

by Kathie Thomas

Leading Change - Enabling ChangeWhen leading change initiatives at your organization, it’s important for effective leaders to do four things. Last week, I talked about envisioning the future and results. Today I’d like to discuss enabling change.

To do this, leaders must build cultures that accept change, not as a random occurrence, but as a constant event.

According to Harvard Business Review bloggers Chris Musselwhite and Tammie Plouffe, “the companies most likely to be successful in making change work to their advantage are the ones that no longer view change as a discrete event to be managed, but as a constant opportunity to evolve the business. … In these organizations, change readiness is the new change management.”

These organizations have cultures that foster innovation and collaboration and accept risk and failure. The leaders must help employees understand why change is necessary, create an environment of open communication and build teams with complementary competencies and strengths.

To become a change-ready organization, Musselwhite and Plouffe said leaders should assess their organization’s:

  1. Change Awareness: “A company’s ability to redefine itself as necessary. … Good change awareness practices include scanning the environment for opportunities, focusing on emerging trends and planning for the future.”
  2. Change Agility: “A company’s ability to engage people in pending changes. … An organization with good change agility has the capacity to stretch when necessary and quickly shift resources to the place they make the most difference.”
  3. Change Reaction: A company’s “ability to appropriately analyze problems, assess risks and mange the reactions of employees. This internal focus ensures your company can sustain the day-to-day business while reacting in a timely and appropriate manner to self-initiated and market-dictated change.”
  4. Change Mechanisms: A company’s “ability to integrate a change into existing systems, accountability for results and reward systems that reinforce desired change behaviors. This contextual focus is critical to the ability to implement desired change with no interruption to daily operation.”

Do you agree? What are your tips for enabling organizational change?

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Kathie ThomasKathie Thomas is the Director of Innovation and a senior partner at Fleishman-Hillard. The global Innovation practice group Kathie leads offers proven tools and approaches for helping organizations and teams inject a new level of innovation and productivity into their strategic planning and program development.