Mixing that one successful cocktail of change

4) A style of change
This can be thought of as a flavour for the “How” of change. Keeping consistency between the culture of an organisation and a style of change gives comfort and can ease a transition by blending old and new. However, when radical change is required inconsistency can be used to “shake up” an organisation. Whichever route you choose, the reasons for doing so must be clearly explained, in line with the above.

5) Acknowledging the good old days of indentured servitude are over
Leaders must be aware that, despite their position, asking for change is a request. Every request involves a negotiation. Remember, the vast majority of these negotiations have the potential to be “win-win”, if communicated properly.

Ingredients six and seven are simple to describe, but difficult to accomplish. For best results, they should be included in equal measure.

6) Discipline is needed if you want to implement that cocktail of change
This is required to make difficult choices, especially regarding people. At some point in a change process individuals are either “on, or off, the bus” and their choices must have ramifications. Leaders often become isolated and thus unable to assess the sincerity of important individuals and groups. Avoiding isolation by relying on trusted counsel may be the best advice.

7) Genuine concern for others
Your people and their roles in the organisation’s long-term success, demonstrated in both words and actions. This requires leadership to have built trust with the individuals in the organisation requiring time and effort.

Those of us who study change and advise organisations on our findings may have done leaders a disservice by looking for – and repeatedly claiming to have found – it’s Holy Grail. Perhaps we would be wiser to provide some fundamental ingredients and then acknowledge that, at best we can help leaders to determine the right questions to ask, knowing leaders are best placed to develop the answers – to mix their own cocktail of change, to be shaken or stirred at their discretion.

Roger Hallowell is the academic director of programs for managers and executives in the fields of strategy, strategy implementation and change management, and leadership, and is academic director of “Leading Strategies for Outstanding Performance” for HEC Paris Executive Education.

Image: Shutterstock

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