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Mixing that one successful cocktail of change

Transforming an organisation consistently ranks among the greatest challenges leaders face, despite there being no lack of advice from business gurus and scholars on this topic. But instead of using just one method, bosses should look to mix a cocktail of change.
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Every few years a new approach to company transformation becomes fashionable only to disappoint many of the leadership teams embracing it. Unfortunately, there seems to be no straightforward method. However, what does exist is a set of core considerations every leader must have in mind – and you can mix them to create a successful cocktail of change.

Leaders need to adopt a new approach to change that relies on combining best-practice frameworks, mixed in the right proportion for the particular challenges their particular organisations, with their particular individuals, face. And navigating that change may be somewhat like mixing a cocktail.

Different people like different cocktails mixed in various ways at different times. However, there are seven core ingredients, which include world-class frameworks I cannot take credit for – that any well-stocked bar contains. Leaders must decide which ingredients they want in order to create that successful cocktail of change most appropriate for their organisation.

1) An understanding

Leaders need to have their fingers on the pulse and must be aware of where individuals and groups integral to the change are in their emotional acceptance of the change, and their subsequent behaviour, if they are to successfully coach them through the change.

2) A process of change

Leadership often spends 90 per cent of time and resources on defining the “What” aspect of change. However, if change is to succeed, at least as much attention needs to be paid to the “How” – developing a process of change. Excellent generic processes of change stress the importance of creating urgency, in part by prompting leaders to explain the “why” of a change in an emotionally (and rationally) compelling way.

3) Identifying the WIIFM (What’s in it for me)

Leaders should conduct an analysis of the proposed “What” of change for each of the key individuals and groups affected by the proposed change – those who may otherwise see themselves as “victims” of change. Remember most people are comfortable in their routines and the situations they know. The WIIFM of the proposed change must be greater than the pain of change in order to get these individuals and groups on board.

The WIIFM must also be greater than these individual’s and group’s Best Alternative to a Negotiated Agreement (BATNA), which includes saying yes and doing nothing, or worse, saying yes and fighting the change. Frameworks which help leaders understand change from the perspectives of their followers, can aid in developing a WIIFM analysis.

Points four to seven can be found on the next page.

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