In my last few posts, I’ve been sharing tips for effectively leading organizational change. I’ve already talked about envisioning the future and results and building a culture that enables change. Today I’ll share thoughts on executing plans and processes.
According to my Olin Business School executive education program professor, Dr. Lee Konczak, executing change involves:
1. Establishing plans
Part of establishing plans includes keeping up with the organizational goals you set while envisioning the future. To help your employees achieve their goals, Inc.com suggests breaking them down into easily digestible bites for your employees. Francisco Dao, founder and president of The Killer Pitch, told Inc.com, “increasing sales 24 percent a year is a pretty big number. But increasing sales two percent each month seems totally doable.”
Additionally, Inc.com said to “break down specific actions to be taken by specific people, assigning someone in each department involved to be accountable – and to help motivate employees.”
And Lori Becker, founder and CEO of Publishing Solutions Group, suggests keeping a checklist of goals and reviewing their statuses on a weekly basis.
2. Managing performance
This may sound synonymous to leading, but according to a recent Harvard Business Review blog by Robert I. Sutton, “the best leaders do something that might properly be called a mix of leadership and management.”
In other words, they’re not just coming up with big ideas and handing them down to their employees to execute. Instead, they “have remarkably deep understanding of the industry they work in and the people they lead, and they are willing to get very deep into the weeds.”
3. Solving problems
An effective leader needs to be able to anticipate problems and solve them quickly. To do so, Dr. Konczak suggests soliciting relevant information through people and data. Therefore, it is important to build good relationships with your employees. They’ll be willing to share their thoughts and work with you to develop solutions.
4. Improving processes
According to Dr. Konczak, an effective leader of change needs to be able to recognize opportunities for operational synergy and integration that others may not see and identify ways to improve process that are measurable, including cost reduction, cycle-time reduction and customer satisfaction.
Change initiatives are very complex, but if you can do these four things, you’ll be off to a good start.
What else should leaders do to execute their change initiatives?
Kathie 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.