Hot Takes on How to Drive Successful Change in Your Organization

I’m reading a gem of a book by Phil Buckley titled, “Change on the Run: 44 Ways to Survive Workplace Uncertainty.” Phil is an author and change management expert. The great thing about his latest book is it’s designed to be read quickly and acted upon immediately. Here are my hot takes on driving successful change in your organization, courtesy of Phil’s book.

Influence Skills Are Key

If you are tasked with leading any portion of the change, it’s important that you demonstrate credibility to senior leadership. Here are two of Phil’s communication tips that will help you do that.

  • “The better briefed leaders are, the better they will be at making the right decisions.” Identify which meetings include important decisions about the change and find a way to attend so you can ensure decision-makers are well-informed.
  • “Talk strategy first, tactics second.” Demonstrate what executive coach Dana Theus calls a “treetops view” of the business. When you demonstrate an understanding of key business initiatives, executives will sit up and take notice.

Managing the Work to Drive Successful Change in Your Organization

These following suggestions may apply directly to you, if you’re personally driving the change initiative. Or, you may need to coach one of your team members on the mechanics of managing the workflow.

  • “Many people respond to unrealistic deadlines with reckless optimism.” To combat this, add 10% to your estimates and start negotiating deadlines before project implementation starts—when the plan is still conceptual and emotions are in check.
  • “People evaluate the ‘success’ of a project based on their expectations.” Frame all plans or “road maps” as fluid; give people small, easy-to-digest updates so they can adjust their expectations along the way.

[Related:  5 Ways to Overcome Resistance to Change]

Engaging Others to Come Along with the Change

Years ago, one of my mentors told me, “People will support that which they helped to create.” These two nuggets of wisdom from Phil support that philosophy.

  • “Giving credit to those who provide input further cements their ownership.” Nobody likes a change that’s dumped on them. Phil writes that people need to “put their fingerprints on the change” before they’re willing to do the heavy lifting.
  • “Link project success to an established behavior people are proud of.” Make sure your key messaging about the project is tied to an aspect of your organization’s culture; for example, quick decision-making as a feature of the company’s agile nature.

If you’re looking for actionable, easy-to-digest nuggets of wisdom to drive successful change in your organization, I highly recommend Phil Buckley’s latest book, Change on the Run

Disclosure: I received a copy of the book for the purposes of review. All opinions are my own. There may be affiliate links in this post.

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