Leadership Story | Leaders Create Change

Day three of the new 2019 Academy Leadership Advanced Leadership Course took place this past week. Our Advanced Communications and Effective Decision-Making workshops were fantastic, each covering well over two hours. The contest winners in the Effective Decision-Making workshop received copies of Counter Mentor Leadership, The New IT and Lead From the Heart which was a lot of fun. Having two long workshops doesn’t afford much time for the third workshop, Leading Change. With most audiences, that’s not a big deal, and we usually zip through the Leading Change workshop rather quickly, often losing a bit of energy after the two robust workshops.

Not this time. We shared stories right away, confirming that constant change is the single most dominant characteristic of the world we live in — and for leaders, the choice is to lead change or be overtaken by it. Sometimes easier said than done though. Turns out the client is in the middle of multiple leading change initiatives, and that the associated challenges consume enormous amounts of energy by the entire team. We discussed Kotter’s Eight Step Change Process:

1. Establishing a sense of urgency
2. Forming a powerful guiding coalition
3. Creating a vision
4. Communicating the vision
5. Empowering others to act on the vision
6. Planning for and creating short-term wins
7. Consolidating improvements and producing still more change
8. Institutionalizing new approaches

learning that the client is still in the early stages. We also noticed that some of the intermediate steps such as communicating the vision and planning for and creating short-term wins can support earlier stages such as creating a sense of urgency. Change is tough. We were not surprised that 60-70% of transformation efforts do not achieve their goals. I asked the group if their Personal Leadership Philosophy includes provisions describing the need for change. Got a bit quiet then…

During our end of day self-evaluation, we found that we had not processed the Leading Change workshop as much as we had wished to. That was a first, and it was actually energizing to hear! The first action item was to email a link to Kotter’s Harvard Business Review article, titled Leading Change: Why Transformation Efforts Fail. We also agreed to spend more time on this in session four next month. 

How do you address change? Are parts of your organization resistant?  Leaders Create Change.