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I’m not sure who actually said ‘plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose’ – the more things change, the more they stay the same – but they were definitely onto something.
Although organisations can vary wildly in terms of structure, process and culture, when it comes to implementing business change, the challenge remains the same. How do you create lasting transformation?
Is there an ‘x-factor’ that elevates transformation programmes, creating lasting benefits and sustainable change?
As an interim who uses her expertise to build and lead change programs with staying power, the answer is a resounding ‘yes’! Successful change arises from a combination of factors rather than a single, elusive element.
Here’s what I know:
Do, don’t delegate: You don’t delegate change. Transformation only happens when you establish clear ownership and commitment to change across all levels of the organisation. Savvy leaders do this by modelling authentic behaviours which provide the foundation for change. They create a compelling narrative which acts as a lynchpin, connecting individuals and teams to the change.
Stay focused: The road to transformation is long, and it’s no place for monkey mind! It can be all too easy for leaders to get distracted by short term results – a.k.a. the next shiny thing on their corporate agenda – instead of staying the course. To get the prize, keep your eyes on a prioritised set of changes, and make sure you have assigned clear accountability for specific actions during implementation.
It’s not a part-time, pastime: I’m called in when things transformational have tanked. Sometimes it’s because the fanfare surrounding the initial announcement of change has faded. Often it’s because the people responsible for implementation have not been properly engaged. Very often it’s because change is considered something you can do on top of your day job. Erm, no… Successful transformation relies on sufficient resources and capability to implement change. Have the right people, doing the right things. Hire in capability, if needed, but don’t forget to coach and support your own teams so they can build their transformation muscles.
Bend and stretch: External events and corporate disasters can derail even the most meticulously planned transformation, so make sure you bake in a degree of flexibility, should you need to adjust or re-calibrate your plans. Change sticks in places where it can be sustained, so craft plans that are practical and results oriented. Your chances of success will improve exponentially.