Creating a Climate for Change

Note: This is my last post for 2016. Look for my next Leadership Post on January 9, 2017. Merry Christmas!

I like change as long as I agree with it.

I’m not the only one. That seems to be part of human nature. It is interesting to observe how some organizations embrace change while others are extremely resistant. Why is one group open and the group right around the corner opposed? The attitude of the group can create momentum or kill progress. As a leader, what steps can you take that creates a climate through which your followers embrace needed changes?

  1. Change moves at the speed of trust. Therefore, the leader(s) must invest time in personal relationships with the followers. Members or employees have a greater interest in adapting to change when they genuinely love, respect, and therefore trust those leading the way.
  2. The leader must model willingness to change. You cannot take others where you are not willing to go. What changes have your followers seen in your life in the last couple of years?
  3. The leader understands the history of the group or organization. Change and openness to change is somewhat contagious. Resistance will be greater if few or no changes have taken place in recent years. Constant change and adjustment can actually become part of the culture if it occurs gradually and continually.
  4. Solicit support of influencers before introducing change to the whole organization. They will multiply “buy-in” through personal engagement and leadership within the group.
  5. Attend to timing and to pace. Change comes easier when it moves forward slow and steady rather than suddenly and quickly. In addition, waiting a few more weeks can make a difference if the issue is not urgent. Time allows you to build momentum and to account for any potential negative implications.

In John Maxwell’s book, Developing the Leader Within You, he provides great detail and additional wisdom on the process of leading positive change in chapter four. I imagine there are changes that need to be made in the organization or on the team you lead. Be purposeful in creating the climate needed to move everyone forward.

Adapted from Chapter Four of Developing the Leader Within You by John Maxwell.