In our last article, we discussed How to alter your approach as a leader to create change. Now let’s discuss some of the critical moments of change that allow for transformation.
Critical Moments in the Change Process That Have a Major Impact on Adoption
In my experience working as a business consultant and a leadership expert, understanding when you can affect change is one of the keys to making change stick and creating real, impactful change. There are critical moments in the change process that have a major impact on adoption, and you can make the biggest difference by understanding how and when to communicate change to your team members.
Change is directly related to what is currently happening on a daily basis within your organization, and leaders need to communicate change at the right time and in a way that will make it clear how change will impact team members. Communicating change to your team members at the right moment with the right messages will help to create transformation, stimulate buy-in and inspire employee engagement.
Moments When You Can Implement Impactful Change
Change is not going to happen all at once. Real change takes place over time during critical moments, and it is these critical moments that will make change stick. It is these moments where leaders can affect change and change organizational culture:
- Communication: Once changes are made, leaders need to continue to reinforce the mission, values and core messages about the importance of change to keep team members engaged. How often and what channels are used for this communication are critical for impactful change.
- Leading by example: Leaders must first model the changes they desire for others to follow. Your team will respond and make change when you prove you are practicing what you preach.
- Leadership change realization: As discussed in Transformative Leadership and Change Realizationa critical moment of change is when leaders realize that they first need to change before the organization will be ready to accept change. Transformative leadership and transformational change occur when leaders self-assess and come to the realization that they need to change the way they do things if they want others to follow suit.
- Implementing strategic goals and objectives: Implementing changes in strategy is an opportune time to address change by actually changing the way things are done. New strategies should embody your vision and mission for change. Communicate the need for team members to commit to changes in culture and strategy in order for new initiatives to be successful and meet their objectives.
- Make it real: Too often change remains theoretical too long and is not seen in real tangible change in process or behaviors. Look for some real initiatives that are underway and use these as mini tests to demonstrate how the proposed change can have a positive impact on the outcomes. Nothing inspires buy-in better that real experience with the proposed changes that works.
- Accountability: Leaders also need to hold people accountable if they are not aligned with the changes in organizational culture. Accountability needs to be built into any change initiative. There must be recognition of people who are getting on-board and those who are not. Consequences follow accountability.
- Training and Coaching: Every training and coaching session is an opportunity to create change. You can use these sessions to change polices, strategies, processes, protocols and culture. Small changes during these moments can lead to the overall transformative change you want to achieve over time. Use training and coaching as a method to influence change and communicate its importance. Anything to do with change needs to be incorporated into all training/coaching by reinforcing critical elements of the new vision and values of the organization.
- Hiring: Hiring is an opportunity to find the right person who not only has the qualifications, but is also aligned with your beliefs, values and is the right fit for organizational culture. Hiring people who embody the values and outlook that you want to create through change will help you achieve your objectives quicker once they are on board. They can serve as an internal advocate, champion your initiatives, and be part of the change in their role within the organization. For more information about hiring see Three Critical Elements for Finding the Right People to Work in High Performance Environments.
When change is implemented during these critical moments, leaders significantly improve the chances of change being adopted, have team members embrace the change, and see positive transformation in organizational culture.