Our Iceberg is Melting…Changing and Succeeding Under Any Conditions ‘The Leadership Factor – Part II’

In the final Power Idea in this series, Senior Strategic Partner, Laura Dillingham shares the final factor from John Kotter’s eight-step growth and change process. We hope you have enjoyed and benefited from this series.

In the previous power idea we shared the first four steps in John Kotter’s eight-step growth and change process to successfully transform organizations. In this power idea we are going to look at the final four. They are:
5. Empower others to act.
6. Plan for and create short-term wins.
7. Consolidate improvements and produce even more change.
8. Reinforce the new improvements.

Leaders must (5) empower others to act on the newly created vision. To do this, leaders and the guiding team members must get rid of any obstacles standing in the way of change, and they must change any systems or structures that undermine the vision. To empower others, leaders must clear the way for employees to develop nontraditional ideas, activities, and actions without being stifled by the old ways.
Leaders should ask:
* What obstacles to growth and change do I need to eliminate?
* Are there systems or structures undermining the vision that need to be changed? If so, what are they?

Leaders should (6) plan for and create short-term wins. Short-term wins validate the effort and maintain the level of urgency. Therefore, leaders should plan for visible performance improvements, create those improvements, and recognize and reward employees involved in the improvements.
Leaders should ask:
* What visible performance improvements will I be looking for?
* How will I recognize and reward employees involved in the improvements?

When transforming organizations, leaders should (7) consolidate improvements and produce even more change. Short-term wins must be stepping-stones to greater opportunities and bigger wins, all consistent with the vision driving the overall effort. Leaders should use their increased credibility to change any systems, structures, and policies that don’t fit the vision. They should hire, promote, and develop employees who can implement the vision, and they should re-energize the process with new projects, themes, and change agents.
Leaders should ask:
* How will I go about hiring, promoting and developing employees who can implement the vision?
* What can I do to re-energize the process with new projects, themes and change agents?

And finally having made effective changes, leaders must now make the changes permanent. Leaders must (8) reinforce the new approaches by showing the connections between the new behaviors and organizational success. Likewise, they should develop the means to ensure leadership development and succession. That is, new leaders in the organization must espouse the new approaches. It is imperative to keep in mind that all that was accomplished can be undone by a change in leadership that bends back to the old ways.
Leaders should ask:
* How will I show the connections between the new behaviors and organizational success?
* How will I ensure leadership development and succession?

It is important to remember that this eight-step change process is not always linear. To better understand this, we can think about the process of growth and change as being similar to using a city bus system. Some people quickly see the benefits of using the bus system—perhaps they are eager to reduce traffic and cut pollution. As a result, they are already in line waiting for the bus to come. The same happens in organizations; some individuals readily accept and embrace change.

Using the same the bus system analogy, some people may not have decided whether they will use the bus system—they see some pros and cons to using it and, therefore, must think about their options for a while. The same thing happens in organizations; some people may be a bit reluctant at first to accept change. They’ll want to weigh the advantages and disadvantages before embracing it.

And finally, some people may never use the bus system. They may never consider it as a viable option, or they might try it a time or two out of mere curiosity. The same thing happens in organizations. There are some individuals who resist growth and change even if it is beneficial. If they do accept the change, they adopt it late in the change process.

Is your organization currently going through growth and change? Does your organization have a succession plan in place for key positions? Please feel free to contact us at (623) 866-8200 or info@hpisolutions.com. We would love the opportunity to work with you to develop solutions. Our goal is to be your trusted advisor.


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