03.2013 - How Senior Leaders Accelerate Change

Focusing Questions

Important change takes time, but there are ways senior leaders can accelerate progress. 

First is careful consideration by senior leaders about the desired change's scope and purpose.  Reaching consensus among senior leaders on key questions is essential.  As a senior team, ask yourselves:

  • Why is this change needed?
  • What will happen if the organization does not change?
  • What has to be done differently for the change to be successful?
  • Are new systems required to support the change?
  • What is our "change" track record -- the underlying culture we have created over time about making change? 
  • How can we build more effective approaches to supporting our people in designing and implementing the needed changes?

Three Proven Approaches for Maximizing Engagement

1.  Use members from cross-functional groups to create a guiding team to shepherd the change.

2.  Use high intensity communication practices to continually collect feedback, make adjustments and reinforce the change.

3.  Use large group interventions to create a strong sense of community, create transparency, and speed up information exchange.


Change is a Process....Not an Event

1.  Create ALIGNMENT around the need for change, the success metrics, the desired performances. 

This includes building widespread Awareness of the need for change, clarifying the organization's Aspirations, and carefully Assessing the current situation.

2.  With your Guiding Team, APPRECIATE -- that is, create Action Plans that build on the best of what is.  Adjust plans as new information emerges.

3.  ADVANCE the organization by Amplifying the lessons learned and Anchoring the change into the organization's DNA.

The Human Element and Change

Transformation of any sort – whether human or chemical or corporate –

is a perilous passage at best, calling for a radical letting go, and an openness to the unknown.

It’s hard to imagine anything more frightening. 

And it’s hard to find a more likely route to progress  – 

for in letting go of the old form,

we create the space for a new form that will work even better.

It comes down simply to this: 

that we can’t advance as long as we’re holding tight to what no longer works.

                                                                                                               Marjorie Kelley