Why Leadership Alignment is Non-Negotiable in Change Management
In today’s fast-paced, technologically-driven workplace, change is necessary to keep up with the market’s transforming demands. In fact, change is a fundamental aspect of any successful business strategy, and leading organizations understand it’s not a one-time event, but a continuous process. But it’s not easy to execute.
One of the first stumbling blocks change sponsors face is a lack of alignment within the leadership team. This is often the result of a failure to effectively communicate the significance of a proposed change. When senior leaders with their diverse roles and responsibilities aren’t on the same page about the importance of a change, the initiative is likely to get a lukewarm reception from employees, who can sense a lack of enthusiasm in the leadership. In the worst-case scenario, the initiative will never take off from the ground.
So as a leader who’s identified a crucial transformation your organization needs to undergo, how can you ensure the rest of your colleagues are on board? Here are some essential considerations to keep in mind to build leadership team alignment.
Align the Leadership on the Importance of the Change
First and foremost, ensure everyone understands the purpose of the proposed change and recognizes its value to the organization. Answer these five questions to make a compelling case for your initiative:
1. What current problem does the proposed change solve? What existing processes does it improve?
To gain support for your initiative, it’s essential to convincingly articulate the business challenges it solves. Share how your plan can address these challenges and how other leaders can expect it to positively impact your top-line and bottom-line. You like numbers, and so do they, so quantify outcomes as much as possible!
However, don’t hold back from including the qualitative benefits you expect this change to bring, such as employee well-being or job satisfaction. If there are examples of other organizations who saw positive outcomes from adopting your proposed change, or success stories from past changes at your organization, use them to persuade! These can help build confidence among other leaders.
2. How does this proposed change align with your organization’s broader vision and strategic goals?
Explicitly share how your proposed change aligns with the broader vision and strategic goals of the company so that other leaders overseeing different business functions can relate. When they understand how the change supports the overall direction of the company and its long-term objectives, you’ll be able to build leadership alignment on the value of the change.
3. What’s the cost of not adopting this change?
Make the value of your proposal clear by sharing what your organization has to lose if they don’t act proactively now. Support your arguments with both quantitative and qualitative data to convincingly showcase the risks that inaction could have on your organization’s bottom line, reputation, employee morale, and other critical factors. This will help others understand the urgency of the proposed change and motivate them to take action.
4. How will this change impact other departments in the organization?
Any large-scale change is likely to affect other departments in the organization. Identify which departments will benefit from the change and which (if any) may be adversely affected. This will help stakeholders understand the broader implications of your proposal. Be upfront and honest, but invest time in providing solutions to mitigate any adverse impacts. This will demonstrate proactive planning and a commitment to ensuring a smooth transition for everyone involved. This way, you can address potential concerns early on.
5. What resources does this change require?
To ensure the proposed change is feasible, it is important to consider the resources it will require. Note all the resources that will be needed, including the cost of implementation. By outlining these resources and costs, other leaders will be able to evaluate your proposal more realistically and better understand its potential impact.
These five questions should help you forcefully communicate the significance of your proposed change and build leadership team alignment. Remember: as you know from experience, time is of the essence for senior leadership. Keep your presentation simple with 3-5 key messages, otherwise your argument can get lost. You can later delve into any specific questions that they raise.
Actively Solicit Suggestions From Other Leaders
While advocating for change, it is paramount that each leader understands where they stand with regards to this change initiative and what is expected of them for its successful implementation. If this process involves other leaders, it is crucial to include them in the discussion. Ask about their fears and offer reassurance by sharing your existing plans to address their concerns. Actively solicit suggestions to improve or ease the transition. Having a conversation is much more likely to get them on board, and moreover, it gives you a chance to view your own change from the vantage point of someone with a different expertise, which could end up giving a more holistic view of your idea.
Build Support Among Key Stakeholders
Cultivate strong relationships with other crucial leaders who you expect will be heavily involved in implementing the proposed change. You can do this through one-on-one conversations, which give you the opportunity to go into more specific details that may not be possible in a group setting. By nurturing these key relationships, you can build trust and gather stronger support for your proposal.
Have a Plan to Build Change Readiness
Creating an implementation plan that maximizes your chances of success will go a long way to showing other leaders you have thought through potential obstacles and increase the probability of them buying into your vision for the company. This is especially important as 70% of change initiatives fail to meet their goals, resulting in a lot of wasted dollars and hours. In fact, of the $1.3 trillion that was spent on digital transformation, an estimated $900 billion went to waste!
The biggest reason for these failures is a lack of change readiness in your organization. For any change to succeed, your people must be equipped with the skills and resources they need to adapt quickly and easily. Volonte is the leading change readiness platform, which does exactly that! Empower your employees to handle change with ease through curated content and dedicated tools for internal mobility and collaboration. Schedule a demo to see how!