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Leadership & Change: How to Make Sure New Initiatives Stick

Change Management - Getting Your People on Board

Instilling fresh strategies and constantly searching for more efficient ways of working comes with the territory of leadership. Who doesn’t want to maintain high performance and profitability, and at the same time make a difference to the company - right? 

The real challenge begins not with finding new initiatives, but with getting your people to agree, engage, adapt and champion it. 

Alas, it can be a challenge to steer people towards the change and breakthroughs you're looking for. 

Despite having goals we want to achieve, we all know how difficult it can be to change our habits and behaviours; never mind anyone else's! That’s why we’d like to share four ways to make a new initiative stick. Read more below.

1. Communicate

Communication is key. When there is failure to communicate effectively, trust goes out the window, people become de-motivated, turnover increases, productivity goes south, innovation takes a nap and revenue targets get missed. 

When it comes to shaping a company through optimising performance, every member of the organisation should have all the information they need and understand the need for change inside-out.

A leader's role involves people management, you're the one being looked to for the know-how and direction. As a result, it’s your responsibility to make sure you're understood, right? This is a fundamental principle within Neuro Linguistic Programming. 

It’s very common for us humans to put the responsibility of understanding on others. This is especially true among people in management roles.


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Whenever we communicate anything, the meaning comes from how it gets received by the listener. Each person has their own perception of the world that shapes how they interpret information. This means that the responsibility is not on them to understand you, but on you to make sure that you’re being understood. 

“The single biggest problem with communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

-George Bernard Shaw

Communicate clearly with your people about change and new ways of working. Be enthusiastic with your tone of voice, open with your body language and selective with your words.

By changing your perception on where the responsibility for understanding lies, you gain more control and greater results. 

2. Advocate

Don’t just talk about the change, be the change. 

Leaders achieve better results when they demonstrate their support for any given initiative. When it comes to new ways of working, it’s not always helpful to simply pass the torch to staff, in the hope you’ve convinced them enough to keep it burning bright. A better strategy is to carry the torch for them from the front and  to light their way forward. 

Ask yourself; “How can I demonstrate my personal support for these new strategies? How do I lead by example here? Where can I show that I do it, live it, breathe it?” 

Everyone wants to impress their leaders, so when they see your support for the initiative, theirs will follow. It's in human nature to mirror in this way, particularly when it is demonstrated clearly, genuinely and with charisma.  

Gandhi expanded on his famous ‘be the change’ quote as so;

“If we change ourselves, the tendencies in the world also change. As a person changes their own behaviour, so does the attitude of the world change… a wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”

There are countless resources and techniques on how to do this with ease on the Life Ladder platform. The best part? With a Life Ladder membership, your people will be working on their ability to adapt to change, making your job much easier.

3. Appreciate

Praise should never be underestimated, the value of being applauded is felt by all.

When we were children, each of us learnt that we want to be praised. That doesn’t go away just because we grow up!

Positive reinforcement is key. Let your people know you’re proud of them when they display synergy with the new way of working. Other staff members will also see this and crave the same praise (and fruits of the results), and it will likely get more people on board with committing to the new initiatives. 

According to Stone & Stone, practising appreciation in the workplace enhances managerial skills which in turn improves one’s motivational abilities as a mentor to a team. This is the easiest way to improve your influence on others in any given situation, but is particularly potent within the workplace.

Here are some extra benefits of creating a culture of appreciation:


4. Manage resistance

Resistance can often be a key player in holding an organisation back. It's not always easy to identify, it can be felt deeply by an individual or a team, and its presence can have a profound effect on motivation, productivity and performance. 

When it comes to implementing a new strategy or way of working, resistance can easily bubble to the surface. Change always presents a challenge for the receiver, as it means letting go of certain habits to make way for new ones. This nudge out of the comfort zone results in feelings such as; "I can't", "I'm stuck" or "I'm not good enough."

Put very simply, resistance can be overcome through these 4 steps:

1. Identify - What is this resistance and where is it coming from?

2. Embrace - "What you resist will persist, what you befriend will transcend." 

3. Patience - Keep adjusting your sails. Resistance can run deep, so overcoming it requires time.

4. Explore - Ask yourself: What resources do I have?  They are often all around you.

5. Breathing Space - Our feelings towards resistance can often create more friction. Create some space around it. 

At Life Ladder we create daily, expert microlearning content that makes managing the mind part of life and work for greater success.  We have all the techniques and tools that allow your people to let go of resistance, helping you implement new initiatives with ease.

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