As a member of the formal management structure of your organisation you have the power and influence to exercise considerable leverage over a change initiative, and not just during the start-up phases but also throughout the ongoing implementation.
Here are 6 “big picture” areas that require your ongoing focus and attention:
Relaxing the command-control management style
This first and biggest step is one that can only be taken by you, as a member of the formal management structure of your organisation, and that is to relinquish (or at least relax) "command and control". Not totally of course, as there is always a need for firm direction and senior management edicts, but sufficiently to empower the change team leaders to identify and work in collaboration with the informal networks.
Dealing with the politics in change-supportive ways
You are in the prime position to understand the politics, and you have the power to influence the political self-interest of the individuals and groups you are dealing with in change-supportive ways. Managing your relationship with your boss and managing his expectations is an integral aspect of this.
Setting the emotional tone
It is sobering realisation that as a member of the formal management structure, a big part of the culture and “general feel” or “emotional tone” of what it is like to work in your part of the organisation is determined to a very large extent by you. Goleman et al have research-based evidence that your style as leader – how you communicate - determines about 70% of the emotional climate which in turns drives 20-30% of business performance or your part of the organisation.
Skilling your people in communication competencies
Communication is key to change. How you are as a person models the behaviours, especially the communication behaviours, of your senior team and through them the whole of your organisation.
Thus, communicating for change means skilling your people in communicative competences such as empathy, active listening, trust, risk-taking, and courage. It also means creating the space and opportunities for this to happen.
Sustaining the effort
Kotter is very clear that a major mistake that change leaders make is to declare victory too soon. Early wins are important and need to be celebrated, but the effort needs to be recalibrated and intensified at these times and the tendency and temptation to “ease up” should be resisted.
For any change to be sustained, it needs to become embedded in the new “way we do things around here” – that is the culture. A major part of this is for you, as ultimate change leader, to ensure the articulation of the connections between new behaviours and organisational success.
This is where you - and your coalition team and your change team - talk about progress every chance you get. Tell success stories about the change process, and repeat other success stories that you hear. This is all about your continuous big picture focus to ensure that the change is seen in every aspect of your organisation.
“Do it different, do it right” creates a change receptive culture
Through your focus on sustaining the effort, not only will the change become embedded in the culture but, and as a very welcome by-product, you are creating an adaptive culture more able and receptive to deal with further future change.
Recognising that these are 6 “big picture” areas that do require your ongoing personal focus and attention
Staying in the loop
How are we doing?
How can I help?
Here are 6 necessary and sufficient actions that, re-inforced to the extent of your formal power, authority and influence, will provide significant – if not critical – support to the ongoing implementation of the change initiative within your areas of responsibility:
Managing your boss’s expectations
Your boss has the formal power and authority, he has expectations of what his change initiative will deliver and when. It is your responsibility to manage his expectations. He is one of your most important stakeholders and you need to define and implement a consistent communication strategy with him, in line with your agreed terms of reference.
Breakdown the barriers between departments and teams and shift the balance of power in favour of your change team
Addressing this is only possible if you, with your bosses support, take and stand by the hard decision to shift the balance of power and support the change programme.
This means empowering the change management leadership and team to have authority over functional management within defined and boundaries and terms of reference.
Encourage early escalation
Remove all roadblocks and obstacles – and create a climate that encourages early escalation – thus maintaining energy momentum and focus of the change team..
Identify, isolate and remove the troublemakers
There are some people who are more trouble than they are worth to your change initiative. There will always be people who will resist change to the death. The tendency is to expend a lot of energy trying to get them on side. Kotter is very clear on this point:
"Forget it, get rid of them, no matter who they are in terms of power or relationship to you because if you let them inside the tent they will do so much damage they will undermine the change."
Identify the “change positive” key influencers and master motivators” in the informal networks
These are people right down at the front line who are naturally and intuitively collaborative, who are already recognised amongst their colleagues for their unique ability to gain the emotional commitment of their people - those who intuitively make better use of informal networks and communities of common interest than most good managers do.
Some of these people will have been identified during the Pre-Change Initiative Review and Cultural Analysis, but others will emerge as the change initiative progresses.
These people are key to success of your ongoing implementation.
Introducing key influencers/master motivators into first line management roles
This first level of management has the most contact and thus most direct influence on people and is thus critical in dealing with resistance to change and successful implementation
Typically there may be only as few or 30 or 40% of key influencers/master motivators in these positions, and it is highly desirable to increase this to 80% as soon as possible.
What is most likely to go wrong?
Not much if you act on these points and do so early on and visibly
Loss of momentum
Eventually, most things…
Quick metrics on progress
Flack and noise from those whose “wings have been clipped”
Informal feedback – the “hum and buzz” of the day-to-day organisation
A steady “ drip feeding” of anecdotal positive frontline feedback via the change team, the coalition team and informal sources
There are a further 5 key phases of your change management initiative that are identified and addressed in the change management templates and that precede this ongoing implementation phase:
Pre-change initiative review and cultural analysis
Selecting a change model and methodology
Involving informal organisation with programme based model