In my work advising leaders through major change and transformation projects in Fortune 150 organizations, I have distilled successful change to three underlying components.
- Active Leadership. Underlying values based, principled centered leadership that defines how a leader “shows up” to his people. This defines their degree of trustworthiness.
- Relationship Building. The work a leader does to build relationships with her leadership team and beyond. This defines the degree the organization will be engaged with the change.
- Execution. Putting the processes, structures, and systems in place to execute the change. This defines expectations and accountabilities of individual team members. As project managers we do this every day.
Together these three components are essential for successful change and are required to drive the most value. When executed well, I’ve observed value targets exceeded.
When any one of these components are missing, you sub optimize the value of the change.
- If you haven’t based your leadership on solid values, employees will find your message lacks credibility. I remember those old westerns where a medicine salesman from back east came to town to sell those amazing elixirs that would heal your every pain. Their lack of credibility was so evident it was painful. They suppressed their values to make a buck.
- A sizable portion of a leader’s role, particularly during times of change, is to build relationships with employees. His first responsibility is to his immediate leadership team. With their help he can extend this to the entire organization. Without solid connections to the organization – in whatever form it takes – employees will remain less engaged with the change.
- Active leadership and engaged employees are vital to successful change, but without clear expectations and accountability, the process to achieve change will be painful, wrought with confusion, and will likely sub optimize the value.
With any change, these items are critical. Now more than ever with employees working remotely, these principles become even more important to keep the organization together and focused on the end goal.