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How Do You Get Leaders to Change?
Emphasizing dialogue, data, respect and patience can make change happen.
Change is hard. The brain is wired to detect any change in the environment as a threat. It takes an enormous amount of intention, focus, attention, patience and persistence to make a decision to change and then follow through. Anyone who has ever tried to lose weight or break an old habit, which is pretty much everyone, likely has experienced this.There are hundreds of books on change and dozens of change models available, but the exact recipe for helping someone change has been a holy grail for learning leaders. Collective coaching and development wisdom about how to help a person change goes something like this:1. First, the person must see a need for change.
2. The individual must map out exactly where he or she is currently, set a specific goal around change and design a shift. For example: “I will give people time to present their ideas before interrupting with my own.”
3. Once the goal for the change is clear, the person must receive some sort of learning support or instruction on how to do the new behavior. This should include skill practice and application.
4. After instruction, the person must have an opportunity to try new behaviors in a safe environment and then in the real work environment.
5. Ideally as a final step the person should reflect on the improved results because of the change. This will reinforce motivation to maintain change and not relapse into old behaviors.This makes enough sense that generally no one argues with it, but there has to be something more when it comes to the most senior people in an organization. Most leaders will agree that they often do not get the kind of attention they need to initiate substantial change. One big reason for this is HR and organizational development professionals often expect senior leaders to be able to change on their own because they are so exceptional. “We are often reluctant to provide support to senior leaders during times of change because they are such extraordinary people,” said Tracey Grimshaw, vice president of global learning and organizational development at Newell Rubbermaid. “When a gap has been identified, we expect them to be able to make the shifts on their own. It turns out that, just like ordinary humans, leaders must first understand the need for change and then receive the right support to grow.”
The Next Generation of HR: What’s Wrong? What’s Right?
May 23rd 1:00pm - 2:00pm CT
2013 CLO Breakfast Club, Boston
September 12th - 12th, 2013The Westin Copley Place
Fall 2013 CLO Symposium
September 30th - October 2nd, 2013Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa
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