Home » Blog » Leadership in Change Management – Part 2

Leadership in Change Management – Part 2

In the military the acronym GOBI means General Officer Bright Idea and is a usually disparaging term for directed change. Equate General Office to the most senior executives in your company. They usually have many years of experience that leads them to believe that a new direction is a good idea, and they have the authority to direct that change. Often they are right, even though the rank and file in the company may initially disagree.

Last month’s newsletter discussed leadership in change management and presented a way to implement change you did not agree with but was directed from somewhere above you. To review:

1. Know your team.
2. Express concerns to the boss in private.
3. Explain the change to the team and summarize any discussion you had with the boss.
4. Ask the team to help find the best way to implement the change and find something positive.

A critical point to leadership in change management is that your success in implementing and managing change is that the road to success begins long before the change happens. Change management is easier when you have established effective communication within your team and trust between you and the team.

So, you’ve learned to effective implement change directed from on-high. But what if you have your own bright idea and want to make some changes that might not be terribly popular with your team? You’re not an executive and you may or may not have the ability to force the change so how do you encourage your team to embrace your idea?
Forget being forceful. Instead adopt a collaborative approach.

Be clear about why you believe the change is necessary

Sometimes people see something new as change for the sake of change and that will cause pushback. If you can’t clearly explain why you think a change is necessary, then why are you suggesting it?

Be prepared

Hopefully you’ve learned enough about your team to have a good feel for where there might be pushback and who is likely to disagree with your idea and why. When presenting you’re idea you can incorporate those anticipated concerns.

Present your idea as a question, not a firm directive

Instead of saying, “Here’s the change,” try presenting it as a possibility and state it as a question. Try, “How about …”; or, “I was thinking about XYZ and I was wondering what you think”; or, “I’d like to try XYZ and I’d like your thoughts.”

Recognize that you’re not the smartest person on the team

Your team is a collection of experts in various areas and you will not find a warm reception to your ideas if you ignore their expertise. The, “This is my idea and we’re going to do it” approach will not be popular. There are smart people on your team and you need to listen to them. They can both prevent you from making mistakes and improve your idea.

Again, the relationship you’ve developed with your team will make a really significant difference. Of course there may still be disagreement but that should not discourage you from making changes you see as necessary for your team. If you’ve taken these steps and there is still disagreement, make sure you clearly understand what is behind the disagreement.

• Do people feel threatened? What you see as a good idea may appear to threaten their position, influence, or just daily routine. Listen carefully to these concerns. Especially if you lead larger teams or multiple teams you might not be aware of how your idea impacts others. You may be able to ease their concerns or help them adapt. In fact, just listening to their concerns can go a long way in getting them on board.
• Are they just grumbling? Often people default to a negative reaction. It just seems to be human nature. If you make a real effort to get your team involved in planning and implementing the change the grumbling will dissipate.

These steps are a successful approach to leadership in change management. If you have worked to create a high-performing team and you have encouraged good conflict, following these steps will make it much easier to implement changes you believe are necessary.

Read Part 1 here.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *