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The Change Imperative and How to Lead it

By September 8, 2018June 4th, 2019Leadership

The Change Imperative and How to Lead it

The Change Imperative and How to Lead it
The Change Imperative and How to Lead it

When Change Is Not A Choice

You’ve heard the adage, ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’. It belongs on a bumper sticker, we know. Still, you can’t hold the truth against this cliché. For, as any business leader knows, change, whether personal or organisational, always involves commitment and effort.

Make your commitment personal

A CEO’s commitment to transformation is the quality most easily seen by employees and because of that, the one most likely to be adopted and shared. What matters here, is that your commitment is seen to be authentic.

The sure way to communicate your commitment authentically, is to make it personal, using story.

The CEO as Chief Storyteller is not a new concept in business. Back in 2011, author Jim Holtje’s book, The Power of Storytelling became an instant best seller. With good reason. The book tells us how various business leaders, from Ted Turner to Steve Jobs, used words to great effect in their efforts to unite their workforces during times of change.

So, explain the purpose of your company’s transformation from your point of view. Most importantly, tell people why it matters to you, personally.

Listen. Really listen.

It’s described as a CEO’s most underrated skill: listening. Sure, the idea for corporate transformation may have originated in your company’s executive boardroom, but the insights you gain from your employees, as to what to change and which improvements to make, are invaluable.

Also, don’t stop listening once you’ve gathered insights from your people.

Feedback – complimentary and critical – is constructive.

So, ask questions of your employees throughout the change program. Ask them questions intelligently and compassionately. And then, listen actively and attentively.

Ready, steady, action

Presenting the case for your company’s change program from your own perspective is vital. Listening to the opinions of your people, and incorporating their ideas for improvement will certainly help ready the business for change.

But the real determinant of the program’s success is your consistent and visible involvement in it, from start to finish, and beyond.

What we’re talking about here, is presence. Being visibly present affirms your commitment, not just to the change program, but to the company as a whole, and the people in it. What’s more, being fully present and deeply involved in the change process puts you in a position to make deeper and more meaningful connections with people. And connections provide influence.

Make change worth the investment, and the effort.

During times of change, great leadership isn’t about convincing people to the think the way you do. It’s about creating a purpose, a bigger picture and a better way to be. Ultimately, it’s about inviting people to take a look at a better future, and to share the view.

Felicity Hinton

Felicity Hinton

Felicity Hinton is the founder and chief strategist at Humanist, a culture-change agency that helps transform people for business success. Previously, she worked in human performance solution design, and advertising. She is a certified change manager (UCT), has a Bachelor’s degree in English (Wits), and has won several awards for her business writing, including a Silver Quill.

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