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How to Lead Change

Leading change is important for individuals who want to succeed in their personal lives, professional careers, and in the workplace. One of the most important factors to consider is that individuals who lead change know how to accept and embrace change in all areas. True leaders are able to grow and change as circumstances provide developmental opportunities. They are able to translate negative situations into positive, growing occasions. This article will address several factors to consider when figuring out how to lead change in your own personal and professional life.

See Also: What Are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Change-Oriented Leadership?  

1. Advice From an Expert

In a Forbes article, business and leadership consultant, Mike Myatt, discussed his thoughts on how to lead change. He advised that there are three basic steps that are involved in effectively leading change.

  • Identification
  • Leading
  • Management

According to Mr. Myatt, the lack of accepting and embracing change “can send a company (or an individual’s career) into a death spiral.” When company management and individuals steadily seek to embrace change, they become “healthy, growing and dynamic organizations.” Mr. Myatt’s three basic steps will be discussed below.

2. Identification

If you want to lead change, you first need to identify the specific need for change in your current situation. According to Mr. Myatt, “if your organization doesn’t innovate and change in accordance with market driven needs and demands, it will fail.” Basically, you need to identify the right areas that need change, while ascertaining the right reasons for the change—and then implement the changes at the right time. Timing is everything. Mr. Myatt encourages individuals to focus on three areas to identify necessary changes.

  • Existing Customers – Evaluate what service areas need to change in order to better serve your existing customers and continue to grow your business.
  • Prospective Customers – Ascertain the areas where your business plan needs to change in order to increase your customer base and gain new customers.
  • Workplace Culture – Review your current workplace culture and figure out where you need to make changes in order to improve the positivity level and increase productivity.

3. Leading

Once you have identified the need for change, you need to “understand the landscape of change.” Mr. Myatt advised that when you understand the landscape, you can then effectively lead change, but not until that point. He shared his thoughts on four classic responses to change. Understanding the four basic types of individual reactions to change, will help you to better enact and lead change.

  • Victim Mentality – These individuals fear change and consider it a “personal attack” on themselves as a person, “their role, their job or their area of responsibility.” They cannot rationally process that change can become a good situation.
  • Bystander Mentality – The neutral individuals neither fear, nor look forward to any type of change. They don’t make any efforts to “vocally oppose change” and they don’t “proactively get behind change” either. These individuals want to stay under the radar.
  • Critical Mentality – Critics are opposed to any and all types of change, even when the outcome will be positive. Sometimes they even “remain in stealth mode and try to derail change behind the scenes.”
  • Advocate Mentality – Advocates are the big initiators of change and they wholeheartedly embrace any type of change. They become proactive in the process and will “evangelize the change initiative”.

4. Managing

According to Mr. Myatt, the final step in the endeavor is to manage the change process in an effective manner that enables you to have “control over the four critical elements”.

  • Vision – It is vital that you connect with those individuals who align with your vision of change. Identify those who disagree with the vision and convert them to your idea of change. If they cannot be “converted”, you need to “neutralize their influence”.
  • Responsibility – The individuals, who are considered agents of change, need to be given a specific amount of responsibility to help with the process of leading the change.
  • Accountability – It is important to ensure that your agents of change are “accountable for reaching their objectives.” You need them to take responsibility if you want to be effective and successful in your endeavors to lead change.
  • Authority – These agents of change need to have the authority to enact the specific aspects of change that you have established. Mr. Myatt advised that it is vital that you set your agents of change up for success and not failure. You do that by giving them the “proper tools, talent, resources, responsibility and authority necessary for finishing the race.”

See Also: How to Learn to Manage Change

Leading change is basically a three part process of identifying, leading and managing. Have you had any experiences with leading change in your personal or professional life?

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