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Executive Support and Leadership in Change Management

Leadership Is Key in Change Management


Executive Support and Leadership in Change Management

Executive Leadership Is Critical for Successful Change

Sam Jordash

Successful change management requires a large commitment from executives and senior managers, whether the change is occurring in a department or in a complete organization. One recent survey respondent said, “a change effort cannot be optional for senior staff. They must lead or get out of the way. The new system will ultimately have to stand on its own feet, but every new system needs support and nurture.”

Senior leaders can do the following for successful change management.

  • Establish a clear vision for the change management process. Paint a picture of where the organization will end up and the anticipated outcomes. Make certain the picture is one of reality and not what people “wish” would occur.

  • Appoint an executive champion who “owns” the change management process and makes certain other senior managers, as well as other appropriate people in the organization, are involved.

  • Pay attention to the changes occurring. Ask how things are going. Focus on progress and barriers for change management. One of the worst possible scenarios is to have the leaders ignore the process.

  • Sponsor portions of the change or the change management process, as an involved participant, to increase active involvement and interaction with other organization members.

  • If personal or managerial actions or behaviors require change for the changes to take hold in the organization, “model” the new behaviors and actions. (Walk the talk.)

  • Establish a structure which will support the change. This may take the form of a Steering Committee, Leadership Group, or Guiding Coalition.

  • Change the measurement, reward, and recognition systems to measure and reward the accomplishment of new expectations.

  • Solicit and act upon feedback from other members of the organization.

  • Recognize the human element in the change. People have different needs and different ways of reacting to change. They need time to deal with and adjust to change. (Read Downsizing Survivors for additional information about the impact of change on staff.)

  • Senior leaders must participate in the training that other organization members attend, but, even more importantly, they must exhibit their “learning” from the sessions, readings, interactions, tapes, books or research.

  • Be honest and worthy of trust. Treat people with the same respect you expect from them.

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