Why You, As The Leader, Need To Be “In Charge” of Change

Written by Jay McDonald on .

People dislike change; it’s a well-known fact. Yet in many ways, it’s the nature of the organization to resist change and folks will do pretty much anything to avoid it. Knowing that, it makes sense for the CEO or leader in charge to lead the initiative. Having a unified voice and a clear direction shows everyone in the organization, from front line employees to top executives, that the change is supported and going to happen despite resistance.

Provide Clear Leadership and Authority The right leadership will drive change in a positive direction. If you don’t lead the initiative, it will not happen. By leading the change initiative, clear leadership and clear authority will be demonstrated. The truth is, there will likely be second-guessing, finger pointing and plenty of resistance. But with a strong leadership, there is no doubt that change will happen. Communicate Early and Often People in organizations tend to look to leadership to provide direction and a path forward. With the organizational leader in charge of driving change, it’s easier to communicate early and often, keeping everyone informed and aware. It could be as simple as making a list of what needs to be done in a macro sense. For example, communicating the company’s “guiding principles” through change can help unify the direction and reassure people that the change is not disrupting long held beliefs or organizational values. Ensure Change Is Swift and Deliberate While you can’t rush organizational change, and you don’t want to, you can make it happen in a swift, deliberate manner. I’ve always felt that the best way to implement major change is to “drop both feet!”  Never institute significant change by “dripping” the changes over a long time, bit by bit.  The slow process is more painful and it causes folks to create their own “what’s next?” stories, igniting fear and mistrust in your organization.  Doing things, once decided, quickly and decisively will ensure that change will happen in a purposeful, planned way.  It will also allow the organization to be forward-focused on the positives as opposed to dreaming up potential negatives that may or may not occur. The right leader can prepare people for change, and then act quickly. After information gathering from customers, employees etc. and industry analysis, a change leader can use his or her best judgment to make the change all at once. Promote an Organizational Culture Defined By Human Decency Change leaders who make tough decisions fairly and honestly, and are candid promote the kind of organizational culture that embraces change…even when it’s painful. Downsizing, or right sizing as I like to call it, hurts and causes people to sometimes lose their jobs. How you choose the folks who stay and who may need to leave will say volumes about your culture and your values.  It’s actually an opportunity to reward your top performers and to separate those who are not making a positive contribution to the long-term success of the enterprise.  Fitting personnel to revenue and market conditions is a tough change, but the more positive you are in how you treat people, and the more help you provide so they can land on their feet, the better the organization is as a whole. Make change as positive as possible by explaining the “why” as well as the “how” and you will promote an organizational culture defined by human decency despite the difficulties.

Jay McDonald

With a unique breadth of knowledge earned through decades of hands- on experience, Jay is recognized as a strategic visionary whose high energy, quick wit and straight talk combined with a passion for mentoring others allows him to help executives achieve greater results and enjoy more rewarding personal lives. Connect with Jay McDonald on Google+

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