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Leadership Development Program & Training Courses - Breaking the Code on Effectively Sustaining Change (Part 1 of 4)

In a fast-changing market environment, businesses also need to be able to change - and quickly - to keep up. Agile, flexible organizations are the ones with the capability to seize upon new opportunities as they occur.

Businesses which can't keep up will simply be left behind.

Great leadership development means developing an internal culture capable of handling these changes. VPs, division managers, and other officials may be resistant to change. Often, they are either set in their ways, think they can continue being successful (doing what got them there) or simply do not want to go to the trouble of adopting new approaches. Such attitudes make it so that change initiatives become unsustainable, or even counterproductive.

A large part of our leadership development program & training courses focus on helping business leaders like you understand how to best bring about change within your own organization. A good grounding in the mechanics behind change adoption will allow you to implement similar initiatives within your own organization.

This process can be broken down into five distinct stages, which is what we'll cover in this blog article.

Know the Five Stages of Change to Create Sustainable Changes

1. Awareness

The larger your organization, the more difficult it can be to effectively communicate changes in policy or procedure. The smart manager doesn't simply send out a single email or memo (once an improvement is complete). They use multiple communication channels to ensure the message is received and understood by all affected parties. Before undertaking a change, give your team what’s on the horizon. Let them ask questions – they are the true experts! They may very well influence “the plan”.

2. Interest

Human beings are overwhelmingly self-interested. An effective change in policy should not be presented as a dictatorial whim, but rather as something which is good for those being affected by it. Appeal to people's self-interest, and they're more likely to go along. The goal is to make as many of the people who will be affected by the change to be interested in it. Again, this allows people time to think and ask questions.

3. Evaluation

At a minimum, ensure the people who are directly affected by a proposed change are part of the team changing it. Outside eyes are also important during evaluating changes (they can ask questions like “why have we done it this way?”). Once humans get used to doing something one way, it can be very hard to challenge it (even if it causes waste and lowers morale). Some will fight to maintain the status quo even when it’s sinking the ship. Be data driven – helps take the emotion out and aids consensus.

4. Trial

This is where change sustainability fails for many leaders - they assume that uptake in the first week automatically means it will continue (or any missteps are indications of total failure). So your team came up with a great idea to improve and they have an updated procedure to test it. Let them and be prepared for bumps! This is an important stage of discovery and should be embraced. Warning: When the bumps occur those who have been sitting back waiting for it to fail will pipe up with “I told you so” urging everyone to go back to the “way we’ve always done it”. Wise leaders know this is natural. Expect a learning curve. Ensuring a measurement system is put into place and is providing feedback plays an important role in assisting the larger organization to move towards Adoption.

5. Adoption

Measure progress and celebrate success! Continue to measure and address any set-backs quickly. Everyone must be held accountable or back-sliding or reversion will occur.

This is only the beginning of the journey towards more effective leadership. For more information on the X-Stream Leadership Group’s development program & training courses, please contact the X-Stream Leadership Group today!

X-Stream Leadership Group, LLC   |   1248 Queen Street, Pottstown, PA 19464   |   PH (610) 908-2223   |   FX (610) 705-1892
Regional offices in Longmont, CO – Dallas, TX – Laurel Hill, FL serving clients in the larger Philadelphia, Denver and Dallas areas and World-Wide.