The 3 Audiences of Change

Change tends to happen slowly because it impacts three audiences, two of which have the power, inertia, and communications to support or defeat the change initiative. Your ‘advocate’ audience perceives a change initiative as an opportunity to make a difference that also increases their visibility, while helping the company improve its means of creating value. They care about the change, believe that they’ll benefit from it, and so organize to support it. Your ‘resistance’ audience …

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Change Expectations

Leading is leveraging influence, inspiration, and information to motivate progress. Most progress involves change, so what should leaders expect when they launch a new initiative? Expect inconsistent commitment. Some on your team will be early advocates for your decision or strategy, but typically, most will need more information or time before committing. While your whole team is compelled to participate in implementing your plan, it will be impossible for it to succeed if most of …

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Less Data…More Story

Leaders and change are inseparable. Whether reacting to a threatening external challenge or proactively disrupting the status quo to improve performance, leaders realize that people do not readily embrace change; initially, there will be uncertainty, disruption, fear and discomfort among those you lead when change is on the table.  But leaders also recognize these emotions as necessary ingredients in a change initiative. When paired with a clear, thorough understanding of projected benefits, they can be leveraged to focus energy, to encourage …

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3 Team Characteristics That Drive Change

Successfully tackling change initiatives is most often due to these team characteristics than it is to the types of individuals on the team: Accountability: Team members are comfortable taking risks; the team relies on its leader for support and on each other to act with urgency, commitment and thoroughness.  Clarity: Team roles, goals, and implementation plans are clearly documented and understood.  Impact: The project goals are personally important for each team member; they feel valued and believe that their efforts will make a difference for customers …

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The Dialogue of Change

No one can be compelled to change, so no change initiative can succeed without dialogue between the advocates and those impacted by the change.  Beginning this discussion before the initiative is launched provides the opportunity for people to exchange conflicting opinions, explore possibilities and discuss obstacles as a precursor for committing to support the change. For the advocates, the launch dialogue is an exercise in persuasion, intended to start an open, productive conversation with those impacted, aimed at …

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Valuing Discretionary Effort

When an employee fulfills obligations and achieves assigned goals with expected behavior, we recognize this as acceptable performance. The job is getting done.  But when one contributes more than the common standard, more than what’s expected, then that’s discretionary effort.  To improve results, leaders need advocates who can collaborate with them to drive productive change. For them to invest discretionary effort, these advocates need to appreciate how the change creates value for the business and how they …

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Change Takes Practice

Wherever change energy is initially directed, there will be uncertainty, disruption, fear and discomfort among those who are impacted by the change. As a result, the first reaction to change initiatives is likely to be resistance; once the impact is clarified, advocates emerge who refocus their energy on learning more and seeking a means to contribute.  Leaders realize that inspiring these change advocates to invest their talent, energy and time is the first critical milestone in the change …

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Sustaining Change

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet You successfully launched an organizational change initiative. You answered questions about what is changing, what will remain as is, and why. You helped people understand how the change will affect them. You collaborated with others to develop and implement a change action plan, and adapted as circumstances evolved. Now you must sustain change momentum. Sustaining change is about changing habits. Aristotle said it best: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, …

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Sustaining Change

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet Because people drive change, sustaining a change initiative requires a commitment from leadership to invest significant time and energy in engaging everyone connected with the effort. By remaining personally involved, modelling behaviors that support the change, and focusing more on why the change is essential than what is changing, leaders can preserve the vision of desired outcome or common goal. They lead by exhibiting 3 qualities: 1. They remove barriers …

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Reward from Risk

Bob Schultek Author of The Gauntlet There can be no reward, no change initiative, no return on investment, no relationship, no success until someone first takes a risk.Life is uncertain; risk and reward is the natural order. Whether we succeed or fail, we learn by continuing to go forward. Shrinking from risk only creates a false sense of security. Manage risk assessment by considering: 1. What benefits will be missed if the decision is made not to proceed? 2. …

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