Having vision, as a leader, is about being future-ready, and although we can’t predict the future we can be certain it will be different from today. As the Greek philosopher Heraclitus sagely commented, “The one thing that is constant is change”, so the effective leading and managing of change is essential to any organisation’s future success.
Professor of leadership and enterprise development at Birmingham University Business School Kiran Trehan, and the Institute’s Vision Companion, explains that: “Leadership vision requires imagination, innovation and ingenuity. It’s not simply about survival but thriving to make the impossible possible.”
So how do you develop your ability to recognise where and when change is necessary and improve your skills to create, and effectively communicate, a pathway for your organisation to flourish? Follow our three Top Tips:
1. Do we really need to change?
The first step when considering any change initiative is to undertake a clear evaluation as to whether it is necessary, any change initiative has to have a compelling story to support it. We rarely start with a blank canvas but usually have a history of change programmes that have, or have not, worked. This history is very important to how the new change plans will be received.
2. Come in from the cold
Kurt Lewin describes a three-step model of change as: ‘unfreezing’ – preparing stakeholders to accept change; ‘freezing’ – new approaches are introduced; and ‘refreezing’ – new practices are embraced and embedded. Remember though, that in our world of constant change, ‘re-freezing’ may need to be more fluid to allow swift responses to developing influences.
Check out our free leading change webinar that explores effective change management models.
3. Communicate and collaborate One key to successful change, as with so many aspects of leadership, is communication of the initial vision and, through a process of collaboration, arriving at a shared vision that is owned by everyone. Any change is likely to be more enthusiastically embraced by those who need to implement new systems and practices if they have had some role in shaping it.
However well we explain and support the change process though, it often triggers a mixture of surprise, fear, frustration or sadness. Expressing these emotions can be a cathartic release – beyond which people are able to collect themselves and think more clearly about the information or changes with which they have been presented. These emotional responses need to be taken seriously as an important part of ‘unfreezing’.
How to lead change in practice
Try out our flagship e-learning tool, MyLeadership, and take our MyLeadership Opportunities assessment to understand where your experience and strengths lie. Receive a free, personalised report including customised suggestions for maximising your leadership skills.