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Change is unavoidable in any organization. Whether large or small, the fluctuating global climate, constant advancement and nonstop innovation lead business to consistently change to meet demand. Bravery calls for leaders who are agents of change.
In a recent interview, Dana Warszona, Marketing Director at Leadercast, shares what she has learned leading change in both large and small organizations.
Q: What have you learned about change as you have led teams?
The first thing I’ve learned about change and is the old adage: the only thing that is constant is change. Earlier in my career, it seemed that change was a big thing. I always thought of big changes, like big brand changes or acquisitions. But now, I see that on a regular basis, there are a lot of little changes. Those little changes can feel like big changes if they are not managed well. When there’s a big change, everyone knows what’s coming. Small changes can sometimes feel big because they are not planned for or thought of in the overall scope of things.
New leaders are able to see change with a fresh set of eyes.
Dana also reveals that when new leaders are promoted or begin a new position, most are able to look at a team or change initiative with fresh eyes. Almost immediately, a leader’s response is to do things differently. But this change leader shares three things that leaders should do before they embark on a change initiative:
1. Ask questions. What I’ve learned is that its best to ask a lot of questions first and do a lot of listening. If you jump right into giving direction or taking someone down a path, you may miss something that is critical or not understand why something has been done a certain way.
2. Evaluate: Next, leaders need to evaluate the idea they have about where they are trying to go. Does it need to be tweaked or is it the right place to go now that you have more details? You should ask yourself: Why are we here now? Is there anything that has changed?
3. Clearly communicate. Finally, clearly communicating a simple vision of where you want to go is necessary. Make your vision measurable. Even if it’s a change in brand or something that may seem like it cannot be quantified, there are some things within the vision that are measurable. Your team will be able to recognize when and if they have met goals if these things are clearly communicated.
Dana’s heart to lead inspiring change initiatives in her leadership roles has also helped her learn some valuable lessons. Dana shares:
Sometimes leaders forget to explain the ‘why’. Sometimes there are things that may be withheld, but when you can do as much as possible to expose the information as to why you are implementing the change, people are more like to get on board with the vision, the change and the plan that’s being implemented.
For true change, don’t forget to explain the ‘why.’
One of the biggest lessons for me is that I need to communicate differently. I ask myself: What is my marketing and communications strategy for different people on my team? What may work for some people on my team may not work for others on my team, so I must tailor my message in a way that can guide my team in a way that can accomplish their roles.
For a big goal or change, demonstrating progress and celebrating wins along the way. For our events, seeing our updates and monthly goals and celebrating the wins, helps your team see the progress as you reach the bigger goal.
Because change is inevitable, raise your level of leadership by learning to ask questions, evaluate your change ideas and communicating your vision clearly.
How have you explained the ‘why’ in your current change initiatives?