Change within an organization is a fact of business life. Organizations can go through two types of change, positive and negative due to many factors such as new technology, economics and business initiatives. If communicated correctly, both positive and negative changes can be handled successfully if as leaders we have the right mindset. It is up to the leadership within an organization to over-communicate and realize that everyone reacts to change in his or her own way. While reading about how to manage through change I was surprised to find out that more than 70% of change initiatives are derailed or fail due to not having the buy-in within the organization.
While recently attending a conference there was a session about managing through change. What I learned was that all change has a beginning, middle and an end. The big mistake most leaders make is not communicating the end initially as a way to manage the organization through the change. Communicating the ending first is basically sharing your vision (which didn’t seem earth-shaking to me) and how the change will make the organization grow/benefit. The communication must create a sense of urgency, refocus the organization and its employees and be repeated.
There are about 15 stages employees go through when experiencing change. It is up to the leader to push or pull each employee through this valley. It is even more important to know your employees’ personality during change. Some accept change and feel little anxiety because of it, others, well change basically sends them over the edge. It’s up to leadership to understand this through listening and watching the group.
After all my reading and attending this seminar, what I learned is the true test of a leader is being able to manage through change. It is during change that leaders must not only walk the walk, but talk the talk. As Sue Swenson, president of Leap Wireless was quoted saying, “What you do in the hallway is more powerful than anything you say in the meeting room.”