Embracing Growth as Change Happens

My goodness, what a year we’re having! Although transformations occur constantly, the last 3 years have felt like a master course in transformation. What seems to have begun with Covid-19, has triggered a wave of changes across all aspects of our lives, causing what feels like unprecedented ripples that abruptly force us to examine the systems we’ve taken for granted, and how we live and work.

New economic and geo-political pressures are reshaping everything and testing how leaders and organizations cope and respond to seemingly unexpected conditions.

Be it the careless Zoom layoffs we’ve seen, mind blowing AI enabled content solutions, or epic ethical disasters like FTX, dealing with the unexpected is probably the greatest challenge we face. Whether triggered by a major crisis or tough economic cycles, the ability to manage the unexpected well in this environment is a leadership attribute we all can and need to cultivate to remain resilient and adaptable.

The fact is, this new era beckons for modern leaders with broad competencies than are currently found in conventional corporate settings. 

Let’s take our profession – legal and compliance – as an example. Beyond knowing laws and regulations, modern lawyers are also required to be effective ethics and integrity advisors, risk managers, change agents, and skilled operational implementers who can lead impactful culture transformations.

The most challenging of these competencies is that of a change agent because our industry has only just begun embracing contemporary change management as a function and a necessity.

Change is the creative face that growth takes until it is our normal – no matter how unpleasant it can seem. And just as some friction helps snakes shed to reveal new healthy skin, you can expect some resistance when you embark on a new direction.

“Change is the creative face that growth takes until it is our normal.”

Whether by choice, or by force, you too can change like a pro by leveraging tried and true principles and practices of contemporary change management. A structured change management process like the one in our example below can greatly increase the success of your change efforts, while also reducing the potential for mistakes and burnout by managers and employees affected by the change.

10 Recommended Practices that enable Effective and Sustainable Change 

  1. Create a meaningful vision for the future. Making big changes is in effect a change in the conventional reality. So, starting with a vivid picture of what the future looks like in the evolved reality is crucial because people are mobilized and energized by strong visions. It serves as the essence of your direction, so it will always be different from the current picture.
  2. Ready the people affected for what’s coming. Talk to your folks about the proposed change, anchoring it to the vision. Explain the value for them individually and collectively. This helps secure their buy-in and commitment early and opens channels for useful feedback.
  3. Consider the new values, attitudes, and beliefs needed to anchor the vision. Determine what fundamental changes are required to achieve this new way of doing things. Our beliefs and attitudes towards specific issues affect our attitudes.
  4. Engage and empower your teams through consistent purposeful communication. Engage with your line management to create a shared understanding of the vision, the gap between the present and the vision’s future state. Educate people and align organizational processes to remove potential barriers to implementation of the strategy. Aim for quality and leverage diverse forums and mediums; include active clear explanations of expectations and accountabilities.
  5. Develop and implement the plan. Make a vision-oriented implementation plan with input from front-line workers, and on an accurate self-assessment of the present reality; clear goals and next steps—how you are going to achieve the objective. Work the plan, reinforce the desired behavior.
  6. Identify a champion or champions. Get a senior member of the management team (a sponsor) to champion the change effort. Preferably someone with a passion for the envisioned improvement who has the authority to direct necessary resources and motivation towards the change efforts.
  7. Adopt accountability forums. Use steering committees and task forces to create helpful check points for ensuring the desired changes and expectations are being met without undue delays. Select knowledgeable and dedicated members of management and the workforce willing to provide leadership.
  8. Generate and share successes as they happen. Identify examples that indicate the changes are working and confirm the vision is attainable. Celebrate these successes in various forums including rewarding those who demonstrate behaviors that are aligned with the change.
  9. Have patience and perseverance. Realize that change does not normally happen overnight, so be patient as more successes will accumulate over time. Leadership practices and organizational processes should also be evolving to promote ongoing continuous improvement.
  10. Show genuine gratitude. Probably the most underrated step in change processes. Recognize your team’s efforts and actively find opportunities to praise and make them feel appreciated. Change takes tremendous courage and commitment, so be sure to acknowledge this often. There’s nothing more demoralizing than feeling unappreciated despite your best efforts.


You May Also Like…


Share This