3 steps to aligning executives for effective change management
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According to a Bain & Company study of over 300 companies attempting large-scale change, only 12% achieve or exceed their aims. More than half of these companies settle for less than 100% of their original goal. Against these odds, scaling behavior change can seem intimidating.
For organizations looking to adopt agile practices, transform how their teams collaborate remotely, migrate to cloud environments, or enact any other large-scale change, settling for less than 100% of their goal is not an option. To remain competitive, organizations need to take their change management strategies seriously.
Creating a unified understanding among executives is crucial for change management success. Executive alignment gathers departmental leaders to develop a mutual understanding and enables them to pursue goals together as one organization.
That’s why ExperiencePoint—a leading innovation capability-building company offering world-class leadership workshops—believes that using executive alignment as the foundation of your change management journey will give you the best chance of success. Before undergoing your change journey, review these steps to solidify your organization’s executive alignment, drawn from ExperiencePoint’s 25 years of first-hand training experience.
Step 1: Understand the need for change
Successful change leaders never assume they have all the answers. Understanding the need for change is more important than making the change itself. To identify the problem, executive leaders must review their employees' pain points, team surveys, company mission, and culture. Once data is attained, leaders can choose solutions that suit their workers. Basing your change journey on actual data and employee feedback ensures workers feel confident and motivated to adopt changes.
Step 2: Enlist support
After aligning on why the company must change, executives must enlist the support of a core team of stakeholders to work on a solution and scale it throughout the organization. Crafting the right communication strategy to engage core team members helps establish the tone for the entire initiative. The core team can be composed of department heads or senior-level management figures that can identify potential change catalysts. This core team will be an intricate part of the entire transformation process, shaping a vision, changing systems and implementing new frameworks.
Step 3: Envisage implications
Once the company’s key challenges are understood and a core team is enlisted to enact a plan, leaders must envisage the opportunities and implications of new solutions on the organization. One way to envisage how a solution would take hold is by testing the plan on a small sample group. After attaining general feedback and collecting data, leaders should have a more realistic indication of how their solution will work and how the organization will develop.
Conquer change management from the start
Many business leaders assume that change happens in departmental silos. This false assumption can decimate the value of even the best change management program. Once individual groups are trained, they return to the workplace with enthusiasm for a new way of doing things. But if the rest of the organization continues with business as usual, their big ideas are often met with confusion, disdain, or flat-out rejection. In that environment, enthusiasm quickly decays into cynicism and all these employees take away is that the leaders who insisted on change aren’t actually committed to the process.
When facing the already daunting challenge of scaling behavior change, losing credibility could be the final dagger to the heart. Employees perceive failing to act as a lack of commitment. If you don’t commit to the change management process from the start, you will have to invest later, and when you invest later, it will be with tremendous interest because you’ve already bruised your credibility. The key to conquering change is establishing strongly aligned leadership right from the start.
Visuals are a great way to align executives, teams, and other stakeholders on the need for change. Get started with ExperiencePoint’s change management template in Lucidspark.Try it out
About the author
ExperiencePoint is a world-leading innovation capability-building company. We help organizations scale and sustain workforce-led transformations by providing their people with the skills and conditions for innovation to thrive. Become part of our innovation community by subscribing to our monthly newsletter.