Working for years with senior executives driving transformational change, I’ve observed that sometimes leaders jump directly from strategy to execution without doing necessary preparation to activate and accelerate implementation within their organization. This preparation requires transformational leadership skills to transition from strategy to execution. I have also observed that organizational change management (OCM) cannot take the place of or make up for a lack of transformational leadership.
Leaders use OCM to provide a structured approach to leading the organization through a transformation or a large-scale change. There are, however, several prerequisites necessary for OCM to be successful. These are elements of transformational leadership.
- There must be a clear and compelling purpose to the transformation.
- Outcomes must be specific, attainable and measurable.
- The leadership team must be aligned on these two points above.
- The leadership team is willing and able to put aside their own functional needs to consider what is best for the whole organization during the transformation (to eliminate cross-functional dysfunction).
- Organizational risks, including cultural risks, must be identified with an adaptation plan in place.
- The right governance structure is in place to provide day-to-day leadership for the transformation.
- The leader agrees to play a role in strategic communications.
- The leadership team agrees to engage with front-line employees and middle managers to enroll them in the change.
With these elements in place, a strong OCM plan can be established and executed. OCM leverages these elements by providing and executing:
- A strong communication plan that emphasizes purpose and outcomes and includes the leaders’ active participation.
- An education program that describes how the environment will be different after the transformation, including defining individual role changes.
- Organizational planning that revamps leadership and managerial roles and structure.
- Enrollment plans that determine how front-line employees and middle managers will be involved in the implementation.
- Skill training required for all impacted parties to learn how to operate in the new environment.
- Long term entrenchment plans to embed the transformation for the long-term.
All of this combines to create a winning formula to drive phenomenal success, often exceeding targets.
Call to action: As you consider your next transformation, think about these points. Have you done the work necessary to prepare your organization – starting with your leadership team – to drive success? Have you activated the team and set the stage to accelerate the work?