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Accelerating Leaders Through The Red Zone

Leading Organizational Change

Change in an organization is neither fun nor easy. As a matter of fact, it can be quite a messy process which leaves carnage in the path of a leader.

If you are leading an organizational change, you need a framework to help guide you through the change. There is so much at stake — you cannot afford to wing it.

By now you have been through many organizational changes and led them. I would guess some have been good, yet many could have been led so much better.

If you have a major change initiative to lead or if you are in the midst of a change, and it is not going well, I hope this will be helpful to you.

Whenever human communities are forced to adjust to shifting conditions, pain is ever present. But a significant amount of the waste and anguish we’ve witnessed in the past is avoidable. ~ John P. Kotter, Leading Change

The Benefits of the Framework for Leading Organizational Change include:

  • You will get faster results.
  • You will have a process that feels authentic and not manipulative.
  • You will have change that gets results with as little alienation or employees as possible.
  • The change will be more effective because it considers risks ahead of time.
  • The change process involves open and honest communication.
  • You will be perceived more favorably throughout the organization.

There are 21 areas of the Framework for Leading Organizational Change which can bring these benefits.  Here are 3 areas with questions for you to consider to get you starting thinking about your plan.

Area of Inquiry #2Assess Readiness

Goal: Understand how ready the organization is, in whole and in parts, to change.  You could chart this out.

  • List each layer of the organization on the left side of the chart (Board of Directors, Session, CEO, Senior Pastor, Directors, Mangers, Staff, Volunteers, etc.). The following parts are listed on the top row of the chart.
  • What are the positives for them to change?
  • What are the negatives for them to change?
  • What is the threat level from a political or power standpoint?
  • What is the threat level from a financial standpoint?
  • What is the threat level to having new ways to learn?
  • What is the current level of understanding the need for change?
  • What is the current level of support?
  • What needs to happen to build on their support?

Area of Inquiry #8Leaders Go First

Goal: Leaders set the tone up front by going first.  This is far superior to lots of fanfare and hype about the change.

  • How will I go first?
  • What are the new ways I have to “be” or “show up” in order to lead during this change?
  • What sacrifices will I make before asking for sacrifices from others?
  • What will I stop tolerating?
  • What will I stop doing?
  • What will I start doing?
  • What are new attitudes and how I will demonstrate them?
  • What are the new ways I will communicate with and relate to others?
  • What expectations will I communicate to my executive team?
  • What else?

Area of Inquiry #14Rapid Action and Quick Wins

Goal: In many change processes, getting quick and easy wins or “low hanging fruit” creates and sustains momentum and positive feelings.

  • What are some quick win ideas to gain momentum?
  • What will be the measure of success for that idea?
  • What are the benefits?
  • Who will lead this idea?
  • Who will assist?
  • Who are the key stakeholders involved?
  • What investment of finances is required (if any)?
  • What are the next steps?
  • How will I develop, sell and implement these ideas?

Before you tackle a major organizational change, let’s talk to see if working together for a season could help you assess, develop, and implement a change plan. 

How robust is your framework for leading organizational change?

What help do you need before leading your organization through a major change?

Check out Leader’s Toolkit for other frameworks which have helped other leaders.