Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Building Successful Change Leadership Teams

I'm pragmatic by nature, the practical kind of leader you can count on to keep the business running at an even keel.  So when someone says "We need to make a change..." my first reaction is usually "Why?"

Does this make me Change Resistant?  On the contrary.  As someone whose career has centered around business transition, it just means I'm true to the definition of a pragmatic - concerned with making decisions and actions that are useful in practice, not just in theory. 

If your organization is undergoing a major change initiative, take a look at who's on that leadership team.  To be successful, it needs a healthy mix of perspective and experience.  
  • The Innovative-Not much change will occur without your innovators.  These leaders have the fresh ideas and the energy to keep the team moving forward. 
  • The Tenured-These are the leaders who have seen change come and go within the organization.  They know what's worked, what's failed, and why.  Their knowledge about past initiatives contains critical information for the success of the current mission.
  • The Well Connected-Networking is what these leaders excel at.  If your initiative needs support from another area of the organization, they can get that done.  They also know where you'll meet resistance, why, and what you can do about it.   
  • The Voice of the People-Of your entire leadership team, these individuals are the most in touch with your employee base.  They play a critical role during integration and restructuring initiatives.  Not only can these leaders articulate the perspective of the employees during your planning phase, but they'll also be critical for corporate communications once actions begin.
  • The Pragmatic-These leaders are not in favor of change for the sake of change.  They want to know there's a true business advantage, one that they can be communicated to the stakeholders.  They'll make sure the change is sustainable and carries a true return on investment. 
A successful change initiative starts with the right idea, at the right time, and led by the right people.  Build a balanced change leadership team, and you'll be off to a great start.