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Leadership Lessons: Implementing Change – Phase 5 – Desire Becomes Action

Editor’s note: We will be showcasing each phase of Peter de Jager’s methodology in weekly posts. Click here for phase 1, phase 2, phase 3, and phase 4.  
Check back every week to read the next phase.

The only person who likes change is a wet baby! A wet baby is aware of the imperfections of its current situation and will cry and scream until a change is brought about.  This analogy is a simple one, but it does contain a core of truth. If your target audience is dissatisfied with their status quo, they will be willing to change to something else.

What is their Vision of the Future?

Where would they like to be in 1 year, 5 years? Can they define what they would like their future status quo to look like? The better they can define it, the more detail they can describe, the more tangible it becomes.

What solutions can they suggest?

Here is where empowerment comes in to play. If they can describe a future status quo, then they can suggest ways to get there. Describing how to get there becomes not only possible, but if they’re sincere about their vision being a solution, then they’re highly motivated to come up with a transition plan. In all of this implementation plan, there is a key assumption being made; that you have competent, intelligent, rational people in your organization. If the answer is no, that you’re surrounded by incompetent fools, then the next course of action is to find out why management hiring practices need so much improvement

What can they do to achieve it?

How can they become involved in their vision? What can they do to move towards it? Surprisingly enough, they have answers to these questions. And those answers can become a plan of action – if we let them.

What commitment will they invest?

Change is never easy. What will they contribute to get to the future they’ve described? If the answer to the question “What’s in it for me?” is satisfactory to them, they’ll be willing to contribute more than we expect.

 What do they need from you?

Staff needs management support. This is what is meant by the phrase ‘Top-down Support’ and it is crucial to successful change. IF top management does NOT believe in the change, then it becomes very difficult to achieve. Not impossible, just needlessly difficult. Before going to the troops with a change, make sure the political battles in the upper ranks have been resolved.

When will their ‘Transition Plan’ be ready?

Set a date for the completion of the change. Nothing happens without a deadline. Deadlines, especially deadlines offered voluntarily, with eyes open, become a commitment.

What will NOT Change?

Very important. People need to know what parts of the old status quo will remain. Even if it is only small things which will remain constant, don’t underestimate their value.

 © 2015 Peter de Jager – Reprinted with Permission