You have identified an issue or a gap in your company’s performance.  You’ve seen the need for change and are passionate about fixing the problem.  And you know that change is a good idea, but you’re not the leader, you’ll need the support of your team-mates and senior managers.  How do you get started making change happen?

A good starting point is to thoroughly investigate the current situation – “where are we now”.  Observe, analyse and measure what’s happening today and make sure you fully understand it.

Secondly, understand where you want to get to – what will the world look like after the change has happened and how will you know that you have been successful.  Build a compelling vision of what the future could be, supported by a simple cost-benefit analysis.

With these two crucial anchor points in place, you can quickly move on to deciding how you’re going implement the change that’s needed.  There will be typically two types of actions in your plan:  Logic-Based and Emotion-Based.

By Logic-Based actions we mean any of the resources, organisational changes, strategy, structure, process, and systems that will be updated.  Here are a few thoughts on getting started on Logic–Based actions:

  • Use the Socratic method: ask questions whose answers will reveal the nature of the problem to your colleagues.
  • Focus: don’t try to boil the ocean – focus on what you can influence, on what’s within touching distance, find quick wins that will build momentum.
  • Provide tools: show like-minded people where they can find resources to help get the problem fixed.

By Emotion-Based actions we mean the use of symbolism, communicating, creating alignment, and capability building.   Get your people emotionally engaged, understand their needs, create alignment with them, and deal with resistance.  Here are a few thoughts on getting started on Emotion-Based actions:

  • Create awareness: be constantly on the look-out for opportunities to discuss the issue.
  • Build relationships: find like-minded people that see the problem and might be willing to work on its solution.  Find ways to work with them to build relationships.
  • Be the change: if the situation allows, become the change you want to happen, be an exemplar.
  • Be positive: be upbeat, focus on solutions and opportunities rather than dwelling on shortcomings and negatives.
  • Be persistent: never give up!
  • Champion: get a sponsor for your ideas, ideally from the senior management team.

With these tips you will be well on your way, off to a good start, and you will be seen as a force for good by your colleagues.  They can be applied to an individual, a team, a business unit or the whole company.

In a future blog we will look at the change tool kit.  The number of  change tools is large and there is an art to using them.

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