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7 Steps for Leading the People Side of Change

By Martha Lasley
Coaching for Transformation
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Originally published in Facilitating with Heart


The most difficult part of any change initiative is getting people on board. Too often, I find leaders know what to do in hindsight, after the change has failed to take root. To prevent that from happening, take some steps

1. Assess Readiness for Change

Take the long view and explore the relevant history of change for the group, culture, or organization. Find out what made past changes successful and look for evidence that the organization can handle more change.

If necessary, develop additional capacity for change.

2. Build a Case for Change

Discover the urgent crises and opportunities that get people’s attention. Study the market and competitive forces that drive the change process. Explore the implications to the bottom line. Imagine what happens if you don’t make the change.

3. Enlist a Team of Change Agents

Start by finding your highest-level change sponsors. Look for other key influencers from all levels of the organization to enlist. Recruit people who have the power to lead the change initiative and get others on board.

4. Develop a Change Communication Plan

Design the best ways to communicate the benefits and the drawbacks of the change. Describe your vision so that you empower others to contribute. Incorporate the vision of how the change serves the highest good and helps the organization thrive.

5. Manage Resistance to Change

Identify the people most likely to oppose the change and determine how you will address their needs. Anticipate the obstacles and create a plan to overcome resistance to change.

6. Build Momentum

Pay attention to the pace and tone so that people can easily absorb the changes. Build short-term wins into the process. Define the milestones you will celebrate along the way.

7. Sustain a Culture that is Receptive to Change

Manage your continuous personal change process and model openness. Establish expectations, desired behaviors, and competencies that people need to develop to support the desired changes. Sustain a culture of continuous improvement and keep the energy alive to ensure future success.


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