2. LACK OF LEADERSHIP: Change initiatives continue to lack the buy-in from employees and support from cross-functional team leaders. Too often the change approach doesn't quite fit the situation, or there is a feeling of "here we go again." In a 2014 study that asked, 'What has been the single greatest contributor to the success of your change management program?' active and visible sponsorship was listed as number one. (In fact, it was cited over three times more frequently than the next contributor.) The study found that
effective leaders of change were almost 3.5 times more likely to meet or exceed project objectives than were their ineffective counterparts. Great change leaders actively guide their organizations through transitions while enabling individuals and teams to engage in the changes.
3. INCOMPLETE APPROACH: Too many leaders have an incomplete picture of how change happens. Current change literature and practitioners advocate a one-dimensional approach to change that doesn't yield long-term results. One approach focuses on changing individuals to enable them to change so that they can change their environment. Another approach works on organizational processes and systems with
the intent of fostering a change in individual behavior. But a one-dimensional approach doesn't lead to sustainable change. Either employees will break themselves against business practices that haven't changed, or the lack of aligned systems will confuse employee priorities. For change to stick, it must deal with emotions and employee transitions 'and' improve the effectiveness of how the business is run. Sustainable change only happens when individual, team, and organizational transformations happen concurrently.
4. SUCCESS BREEDS SUCCESS: A team's confidence in its ability to lead change increases once they have seen and experienced a practical approach to change. If leaders want different results than they've had in the past, they have to do things differently than they've ever done them before. But most leaders (and teams) don't know what that looks like. The application of change principles, success practices, and tools doesn't have to follow a smorgasbord approach to change where leaders try "some of this and some of that" or use "one of these and one of those" best practices. These approaches fail because they don't apply ideas consistently or holistically. A practical approach to change is just that—something that can be applied easily at any level of the organization to enable change and improve performance. In one study, almost 50% of participants believed that at least half of the resistance to change they experienced could have been avoided with better change management.
5. LEADERSHIP IS LEVEL AGNOSTIC: Successful leaders of change enable everyone in the organization to be a champion of change. Hoping employees engage in change engenders an attitude of watching a
parade vs. actively participating in it. Hope is not a strategy. The speed and complexity of change are increasing, and high-performing organizations don't have the time to deal with those who are not engaged and contributing (see Appendix 1: The Complexity and Speed of Change). All of us are part of a team that either runs something, makes something, or recommends something. In that role—whether we are the leader or a team member—we're all expected to make it better, improve how we work, or get better results. One finding indicated that 60% of the participants surveyed didn't feel their organization did an adequate job preparing managers to lead change. We have found that to be consistent across all levels within organizations. With change becoming more complicated, all employees must learn to champion it.
CHANGING HOW CHANGE HAPPENS: THREE THINGS THAT GREAT LEADERS OF CHANGE DO DIFFERENTLY
The first thing that great leaders of change do differently is change how they think and talk about change. They engage in Big Talk—conversations about the business that proactively explore sustainable improvements through wholesale change. This is what we discussed at the beginning of the chapter.
The second thing great leaders of change do is change their approach to change by engaging both individuals 'and' the organization in change. In almost every book we read about change, the authors start
with a premise about how change happens. And yet they rarely agree. Here are some examples:
* "Changing the system will change what people do. Changing what people do will not change the system."
* "You simply cannot get the results you need without getting into that personal stuff. The results depend on getting people to stop doing things the old way and getting them to start doing things a new way. There is no way to do that impersonally."
Some authors (and many change practitioners) argue that change starts with individuals. Others claim that individuals can't really change until the organization does. These premises led us to ask,
"How does change happen? Does change happen from the inside-out or from the outside-in?" In other words, is the most effective way to change an organization accomplished by helping individuals change so
they, in turn, can change their teams and the organization (insideout)? Or is the best approach to improve the organizational elements of strategy, processes, and structure, and then expect teams and individual behavior to align with the changes so as to deliver better results (outside-in)? The difference is summarized in the table below: (table not shown)