Change Championing: The Full-court Press for Strategic Change Management
The 2020 Men’s NCAA championship game was set for April 6, when for the 81st year, one men’s basketball team would be named the champion.
Becoming a champion can mean a number of things, from beating 67 other teams during a single-elimination tournament, to overcoming obstacles to reach victory, or bringing positive change to life for the benefit of the team (even managing changes involved in doing so).
When leaders start to set change in motion, they commit to guiding their team through the unexpected. Leaders are responsible for making key decisions and leaning on innovation and new ideas, but they can’t lose sight of their team and its strongest players. Even though change demands plenty of focus, leaders can’t let their people’s feelings and needs fall by the wayside.
Most likely, change in your organization calls for a critical drive forward - to excel in your work, to make progress and make sure your actions are the most meaningful.
John Wooden is the most winningest coach in men’s college basketball tournament history during his tenure at UCLA, including 10 national championships within a 12-year period.
He said of change, “Push yourself to keep improving or you’ll stay as close to the bottom as you are to the top.”
And no change champion is going to be OK with being in the middle, whether it’s for a tournament title or business success that outdoes its competitors. A change champion pushes for the win by identifying teammates with the most potential, cheering for their peers as needed and demonstrating leadership.
So how can you score a guaranteed win at change management? If you can take on a few of the following Qualities of Change Champions, then you’ll be well on your way.
- Effective Communication
- Ability to motivate, inspire and coach, keeping the team focused on the vision
- Overcoming barriers to change
- Facilitative leadership
We tapped into the knowledge of change management expert Dr. Tina Thompson of Capella University for more on these qualities.
First up, discussing the change initiative helps prepare employees for unfamiliarity ahead, according to Dr. Thompson.
“I always recommend an early-and-often approach to communication,” she says.
It’s important to remember that communication is a two-way street, so asking employees for feedback about future change enables them to become more aware of what’s possible and what they can expect. This open communication helps managers share more information about change, which ultimately, could impact their entire workforce.
It’s important to identify who, within your organization, has the potential to powerfully lead change and empower others.
“Change champions can bring vast influence and drive change in bigger and faster ways than how change is currently being managed,” Thompson says. “Communication opens pathways when used by change champions … and encourage bottom-up leadership.”
Leaders should determine influencers within their organizations who can most positively lead others, especially when anticipating inevitable hurdles of change. Those people will be the ones managers rely on to carry the team when things happen fast, when employees need clarity and when the going gets tough.
Hear more from Dr. Thompson and score tactics for change championing within your organization by watching, “Change Championing: Getting Creative About Change Management,” an on-demand webcast from Glint and HCI.