In order to lead a successful transformation initiative, leaders need to create a positive environment, establish readiness, depict a visualization of abundance, create commitment and create irrevocable energy.
Step 1: Create An Environment of Positivity
The most important step in leading positive transformations is to create an environment of positivity. Since change is inevitable in most organizations, managers should concentrate on the positive aspects of change. The negative aspects of the transformation should be outlined as challenges to put a positive spin on the potential negative features. Focusing on strengths can establish a culture of positivity. Effective leaders epitomize positive energy, recognize positive energy in others and provide opportunities to formulate positive networks or working groups.
Establish a Culture of Gratitude and Compassion
Establishing a culture of gratitude and compassion is instrumental to creating a positive environment. Recent research suggests organizations that exhibit these attributes of compassion and positivity are more successful in terms of productivity and bottom line results. Compassion is present in organizations when leaders exhibit the virtues of recognition, understanding, and responsiveness.
Step 2: Establish Readiness
In addition to creating an environment of positivity, personnel need to understand the importance of change. Therefore, the second phase in leading positive change is to establish readiness with the personnel involved. The need for change should be clearly communicated and opportunities should be outlined. It is important to have clarity in regards to the need for change, the details of the change initiative, the benefits that can be derived from the change and the impact change will have on the organization. Leaders should consider or envision how change will impact the organization, how personnel will react, who will be affected, what are the risks involved, and how the change will be managed to achieve the desired results.
Set Goals - Create a Culture of Continuous Improvement
Establishing readiness can be accomplished through goal setting and by creating a culture where continuous process improvement is the goal. Another technique is to benchmark best practices and align performance accordingly to exceed the best practices. If one doesn’t exceed the best practice, they are simply replicating the processes. Identifying best practices generates new ideas and perspectives which increases attainable standards.
Facilitate a New Way of Thinking
An alternative way to establish readiness for change is to facilitate a new way of thinking. Using different dialect to describe old processes will assist in creating a new way of thinking.
Communicate Clearly and Concisely
Positive change generally transpires with a leader depicting a vision of abundance. Abundance can be interpreted as a vision of a positive future and prosperous conditions. In order to attain this vision, an organization needs to communicate clearly and concisely.
Most companies have mission statements or established goals, but a vision encompasses what an organization should look like once it has successfully implemented its initiatives. Mission statements outline why a company does what they do whereas a vision clarifies the future state of an organization. Therefore, visions should identify the values and principles that guide behavior in an organization as it achieves its mission. In this sense, visions deliver optimism and confidence in the direction an organization is heading.
Step 3: Gain Commitment To The Vision
Once a vision of abundance has been established, leaders need to get personnel to commit to the vision and work toward its success. Establishing an atmosphere of motivation, empowerment, and teamwork can prove vital to personnel buying into the vision. The most significant part of the leadership role is addressing emotional rather than normal characteristics of change. Once personnel buy into the vision and feel they are a part of the change initiative, commitment is generated.
Leaders should frequently communicate the vision or it loses power and commitment. Leaders cannot over communicate. This is especially true when it comes to communicating about updates. Successfully communication involves the clarity, the resonance, the accurate targeting, the timing and the feedback process of the message.
The vision can be articulated in newsletters, speeches, and common interactions. Metrics and key performance indicators are a good avenue to keep the commitment strong. Illustrating successes provides accountability indicators that the initiative is successful.
Step 4: Champion The Change Initiative
The last challenge facing leaders of positive transformation is to incorporate the change as a part of the organization. The challenge is to get everyone to buy into the change and essentially become champions of the change initiative.
Getting people to articulate the vision themselves is an effective way to generate irrevocable energy. This can be achieved through personnel development by providing training opportunities for individuals to be leaders of the change initiative.
David A. Whetten and Kim S. Cameron. Developing Management Skills. (6th Edition) ed. NJ: Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, 2004. Print.
(All accolades and credits go to Benjamin R. Kamen for this tremendous blog post!)