Business change is essential to every company’s growth journey, yet it can be challenging to initiate and sustain. Leaders play a critical role in driving business change within their organizations – they set the tone and lead by example. By understanding how to use their power effectively, leaders can create an environment conducive to business change and ensure it sticks.
Here are a few ways leaders can use their power to initiate positive business change.
- Define the problem and rally the troops
When business leaders are trying to initiate change, the first step is always to identify the problem that needs solving. Finding the root of the problem is essential to developing an effective action plan. Leaders must know their businesses inside and out to diagnose issues accurately.
Once the problem has been identified, leaders need to rally their troops and get everyone on board with the plan. Change is never easy, but it’s much easier to implement when everyone works together towards a common goal.
For example, the SMRT CEO of Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit system, Neo Kian Hong, successfully leads his team of engineers to fix the city’s train network whenever even minor breakdowns plague it. He can quickly identify the problem and bring all relevant parties together to work on a solution.
- Communicate the plan and vision
After the problem has been identified and the team is on board, leaders must communicate the plan and vision to everyone involved. Everyone must understand the “why” behind the change, not just the “what.” People are more likely to get on board with a plan if they know its reasoning.
By clearly communicating the vision and purpose of the change, leaders can ensure that everyone is working towards the same goal. Leaders can do this by setting up regular meetings, sending out updates, and being available to answer any questions.
For example, when the former CEO of Burberry, Angela Ahrendts, wanted to turn around the company’s flagging fortunes, she first had to get the entire team on board with her vision. She did this by communicating her plans clearly and ensuring that everyone understood the reasoning behind the changes.
- Lead by example
As the saying goes, actions speak louder than words. Leaders need to lead by example if they want to see real change within their organizations. This means walking the talk and ensuring that their behavior is in line with the change they’re trying to initiate.
Different approaches work for other people, but the important thing is to be authentic and consistent. If leaders want their teams to be more innovative, they need to show they’re willing to take risks themselves. Leaders who want their teams to be more customer-centric need to lead by example and put the customer first.
Being a role model is not always easy, but it’s essential if leaders want to see real change within their organizations.
- Encourage and reward positive behavior
Leaders must also encourage and reward positive behavior if they want to see change stick. This means creating an environment where people feel safe to experiment and take risks. It also means recognizing and celebrating successes, no matter how small.
Encouraging and rewarding positive behavior is key to any successful change initiative. It helps create a culture of innovation and experimentation, which is essential for long-term success.
Some companies have even started offering financial incentives for employees who develop successful new ideas. They understand that change begins with individual initiative and are willing to invest in their people to make it happen.
- Be prepared for setbacks
Setbacks are inevitable when initiating change, but leaders must be prepared for them. They need to have a plan in place to deal with any unforeseen challenges that might arise. When setbacks do happen, leaders need to stay calm and focused. They must keep their eye on the prize and continue working towards the goal.
Leaders also need to be prepared to deal with resistance from employees. Not everyone will be on board with the changes, and that’s okay. Leaders need to listen to feedback and address any concerns that people have. They also need to be prepared to make changes to the plan if necessary.
Additionally, leaders need to be prepared for the fact that not all change initiatives will be successful. They need to accept that failure is a part of the process and learn from their mistakes.
Change is never easy, but businesses need to stay competitive. By following these tips, leaders can increase their chances of success. Always remember that change starts with individual initiative, so lead by example and encourage your team to take risks. Be prepared for setbacks, but don’t let them stop you from reaching your goals. And most importantly, never give up. Initiating positive change is always worth the effort.