The case for becoming a changemaker
Create a compelling vision for the future as a changemaker in your organization, forge a winning path through experimentation and adaptation, and convert your stakeholders into partners on the change journey.
When COVID-19 flipped the switch on business and completely changed the way we got things done, businesses stepped up to the challenge and created innovative ways to work, interact, and solve problems amongst teams. And the people who helped bring that metamorphosis to fruition were the change makers – employees who feel personally inspired to push change and transformation forward to get things done.
A global survey of more than 6,500 employees and 100 CHROs has revealed that the best organizations rely on their workforce — and not only executives — to lead change.
This changemaking approach:
- Increases success from 34 percent to 58 percent.
- Decreases implementation time by 33 percent.
- Increases employee engagement by 38 percent.
- Increases employees’ intent to stay by 46 percent.
This approach of driving change through the workforce reduces the gap in understanding between the C-suite and an entry-level employee to a mere 3 percent (down from 31 percent in a traditional top-down approach).
Sources: Reuters, “Changing Change Management,” Gartner
However, despite these benefits,
- 70 percent C-suite executives do not feel confident about their organization’s ability to pivot/adapt to disruptive events.
- 75 percent organizations expect to multiply their major change initiatives in the next three years. Yet, 50 percent change initiatives fail and only 34 percent are a clear success.
- Only 18 percent of multinational companies report having a strong global leadership pipeline to meet future business challenges.
Sources: Deloitte’s 2021 Global Resilience Report, “Changing Change Management,” Gartner, Harvard Business School
These statistics underscore the importance of developing changemakers within organizations. By fostering a culture of changemaking, organizations can enhance their adaptability, increase their success rates in change initiatives, and build a strong leadership pipeline to meet future business challenges.
Frame it as a Hero’s journey
Achieving any significant change is never easy. It requires toil, sacrifice, risk-taking, behavior change, patience, and courage. Frame it as a hero’s journey to energize the people who are leading and supporting the change program.
Separate the core from the tactics
Distinguish between the core elements of your change agenda — the non-negotiable goal — and the tactics that you can flexibly experiment with and change as you learn your way to success. Your purpose should be steady, but your path can evolve.
Appeal to the heart, not just the mind
There is often significant resistance to change because it upends “business as usual” by challenging and uprooting past habits, beliefs, structures, rhythms, hierarchies, and sense of stability. Changemaking requires keen attunement to others’ perceptions and priorities, and a way to appeal not just to their reason but also their feelings.
Experiment, learn, adapt
There are always unknowns on the path to change. So you have to constantly experiment, learn, and adapt along the way.
Extract value from every attempt
When a change program hits a dead end, don’t view it as a monolithic failure. Extract from it partial wins, valuable learnings, and useful assets that can be repurposed when you are ready to take an alternative path, or pursue change at another time, or go after a reformulated goal.
Modulate the pace and direction
You will encounter headwinds on the path to change, and when you do, you need to know when to push, when to pull back, when to pause and when to pivot (in a new direction).
Take Small Steps
Break down the change goal into stages and focus on achieving progress in small steps when it isn’t possible to achieve it in big leaps.
Strive to win over detractors and resistors by understanding the root causes of their resistance, honoring their roles and contributions, finding common ground with them, and seeking to draw out the best in them.