I don’t believe in employing change management consultants. They take what should be an on-the-ground, tactical approach to leadership and convolute it. I’ll tell you a secret: The only way change occurs successfully in any organization is when top leaders support the changes they want to implement. Change is a top-down process with a cross, down, bottom, up and everything-in-between effort.

To manage change effectively, you must:

  1. Make the change necessary. Change should not be an experiment. It should not be something the organization implements for one week, only to retract the change the next week. The change should be necessary to the survival, improvement, and long-term success of the organization. Start with asking the pertinent, often forgotten question, why change?
  2. Achieve buy-In. It doesn’t matter how necessary the change is for your organization, if you’re not addressing your employees in terms of what’s in it for them, the change won’t be as successful. Achieving buy-in for your organizational goals requires a change in mind-set – not just for your team but for you as well. It can’t simply be a top-down, trickle-down list of commandments. It takes an ongoing, full-court press: constant communication from every angle, both formal and informal. Too many leaders deliver one or two formal announcements or a town hall or two and then, silence. You need to be ready to stay in it for the long haul.
  3. Address concerns. It’s human nature to resist change, so leaders must be willing to address concerns. This means being available and approachable. Don’t deflect and don’t run. Address concerns head-on. It might get messy. And you might not have all the answers. I have seen so many leaders “run for the hills” because they don’t have it all figured out and are afraid to say so. Yes, you need to build confidence and credibility, but when concerns pop up that you don’t have an answer for, it’s ok. Gathering around that concern, figuring it out in the short term and perhaps inviting that employee to help you solve it, will gain the traction you need for a long-term change initiative.

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Change is an unqualified necessity in today’s globally competitive, rapidly changing environment. How you approach change, and the people you expect to implement change, makes all the difference.

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As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.

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