Last week we took a look at the role a strong communication plan plays in creating engagement. But it takes more than good communication to foster commitment, encourage new behaviors and teach the new skills that are required to be successful in the changed environment. The value of well-rounded change leadership to foster engagement cannot be overlooked, and not just in turbulent times.
Communication is often seen as the only engagement process, and is certainly over-used
Effective communication during change gives people guidelines so they know exactly what is expected of them. Communication helps to focus the organization’s efforts for maximum success. The problem with communication is that it is often the only engagement process that leaders use – and overuse.
This over reliance on communication springs from a mindset that if you put a case as logically as possible then people, being rational, will buy into it and take appropriate actions. However, leaders have a much greater ability to sustain and enhance people’s motivation to act through change by applying different change management levers.
The 4 key change management levers for engagement are just as important as each other.
These processes are not linear. Each of these processes are most effective at different stages of the change lifecycle, and when the individual is ready for them. Using a mix of the processes keeps people engaged throughout the change, which in turn builds commitment and leads to successful change delivery.
Building ownership, self-motivation and commitment
People involved in change become more committed to it because they feel a sense of ownership and control during change. In addition, feeling that there will be sufficient time for learning, and the availability of appropriate training reduces change anxieties.
Involvement and learning helps people to adjust and improve to the point where they no longer feel threatened by change. Include rewards for working in the new way soon and soon it becomes clear to people in the organization that continuing to stick to the status quo is unacceptable.
This engagement creates a sense of self-motivation, which fosters commitment to the change.
Engaged leadership starts at the top
To build engagement for your change you must start with the leaders in your organization. Just as their teams will, they need the time, space, encouragement and rewards to understand the change vision and build their commitment to it. A committed leader is much more effective at leading change than a leader who just accepts the need to change; often seen as the difference between saying and being.
We discuss in The Power of Data (part 2) the importance of strong, visible senior sponsorship, supported by skilled change agents. That strong change leadership needs to then cascade down to the local levels.
Frontline and middle managers have a more personal relationship with their teams, and any apparent resistance to the change here can counteract against even the strongest sponsorship support.
Engage and train your leaders
Leaders need the capability and tools to cascade through to their leaders and teams. Ensuring the learning process provides your leaders with the ability to, in turn, use the appropriate levers to create engagement and build personal commitment within their teams is so crucial for effective cascade.
Leaders are not necessarily born with inherent knowledge of how to manage change. But they can be taught.
Make sure you have the training and tools to support your leaders
Our Roadmap Pro platform enables leaders to develop their capabilities as change leaders and provides them with the tools and techniques to build a powerful engagement process across their teams.
Engaging people in change creates the self-motivation needed for people to begin to work in new ways. Understanding how and when to apply different change management levels is key in successful change leadership.
Download our Roadmap Pro brochure to find out more