Route to the Top: Eight ways to manage change

With the business world in flux, how do you make sure that your company embraces change quickly?

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Start with yourself. Consultant William Bridges says: 'It isn't the changes that do you in, it's the transitions.' In other words, problems lie not in the new role or structure but in how you adjust. The better you manage your own transition, the easier it is to guide others.

Get stuck in. Planning is helpful but not when it becomes a reason to procrastinate. You're unlikely to create a perfect plan, and even if you did it wouldn't stay perfect for long.

Find the means. Archimedes said: 'Give me a lever and I will move the world.' Whether it's changing a process, merging two teams or empowering staff to make decisions, what levers can you use to support that change?

Create ownership. Last year, two million Americans became infected with a serious illness in hospital; of those, 90,000 died. It was all because medical staff weren't washing their hands enough. The hospital tried charts, spreadsheets and disinfectant wipes to no effect, then started listening to staff. The result: better engagement and lasting behavioural change.

Embody the change. When Fabio Capello inherited England's football team last year, its over-indulged and privileged stars were said to run the show. No-nonsense Capello has reignited competition for places and restored the key focus: what happens on the pitch. And no-one questions who's in charge.

Relish resistance. Letting sceptics air their views and addressing their concerns will bring them on board. You might even learn a thing or two.

Tell it like it is. Research shows that in times of turbulence, people want above all else to see authenticity in their leaders.

Recognise and reward. Whether it's a public thankyou, team lunch or an early Friday finish, acknowledge milestones along the way to add momentum and advertise success.

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Route to the Top: Eight ways to manage change

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