In this blog, the CEO of Actus Lucinda looks at the key skills and attributes we need to become organisational leaders of change. She outlines 5 ‘secret powers’ which can help us to become Change Superheroes at work. These are: Courage, Connect with Strategy, Corroboration, Communication and Collaboration. We shall now discuss each of these secret powers for delivering organisational change.
A bit like the Lion in the Wizard of Oz, we need to be ready to stand up and be counted. This can be trickier for some and involves challenging key stakeholders that aren’t backing the change. It is important to recognise that those with seniority still hold the same natural emotional reactions to change as anyone else. However, they are just expected to be on board with it. Therefore the best approach is to have the courage to communicate with these resistors on a personal level. Remember they are still just people; by speaking with them you may discover why they are resistant to change. If they feel they are being listened to, there is a greater chance of them coming on board or agreeing on a middle ground.
Furthermore, if they are the sponsor of change (e.g. a training initiative), yet are not fully committed, then this presents an ideal opportunity to agree on messaging. For example, deciding on a behaviour style and language to be used so that they appear supportive.
If we are to become change superheroes, we must inspire people to want to change. Often we forget to tell people the reason for the change. This is about looking up and being strategic, asking where do we want the business to go? It is about helping people to see the future and also creating a sense of urgency for change.
It is also about inspiring people as to why that future could be so much more exciting so that they back the need for change. This could well involve showing people what is in it for them. We don’t always like change but if we understand the bigger picture we may be more inclined to go along with it. For example, you may not want to go to the gym, or not have that piece of cake. However, if you understand the need to make such lifestyle changes to look good on the beach, you will be more likely to change your behaviour.
Corroboration links to us being evidence-based. It is about having the power to influence others through logical argument, through facts and figures. This may take the form of data, case studies, innovation from third parties, or professional bodies that are relevant to your audience. Notice again, it’s about understanding your audience and making things relevant to them. It is about the logical argument for change.
For example, if you’re an NHS Trust, you could take a case study of a different NHS Trust that has tried to do something in a certain way, and had a really good result. Or, it could be about understanding and presenting the evidence correctly. One way you could present the information is by identifying that your organisation’s current attrition rates are set at X and are therefore 20 percent lower than the national average.
To successfully carry out change we need to listen to people and understand that not all change is going to be received positively. There are human emotions to consider and people will react differently. Therefore, we should consider the language we are using to communicate with the audience we are addressing. It is also important to convey that the change is here to stay and that although individuals may not be happy with it, you are here to support them through it.
Kotter’s 7 Step Change Model can really help provide a structured process for implementing change. Often, when people think they’ve made the most of the change, communication can stop. Kotter suggests that you should communicate short or quick wins to avoid this. Almost celebrate what has happened in order to help the organisation to get through the change fully.
No one can create change alone and the bigger and stronger the ‘league of change superheroes’ you have, the greater your chance of success. True collaboration results in synergy where the result is greater than the sum of the parts. It is about collaborating not just for the purpose of change but being open and friendly. Ask the question, how can we work together to bring about positive change?
Be prepared to personally support others and to get behind other causes. Building relationships outside of the HR department will help when needing collaboration from others to bring about change successfully.
In this blog, we have presented the 5 key attributes outlined by Lucinda for becoming a change superhero. This content is based on Lucinda’s very first book, How to be a Change Superhero, which was released on the 21st of May 2020. This book couldn’t come at a more relevant time. All of us have had some type of change in our lives due to COVID-19, whether it be personal or work-related. Become a Change Superhero! If you would like to know more about the book, please click the badge below.
(Amazon’s trademark is used under licence from Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates)
For more guidance on implementing change successfully within your organisation, listen to The HR Uprising Podcast, hosted by Lucinda. You can also access further resources on change via the buttons below.