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Change Management is DEAD! Bring on the  Change Leaders

I've delivered many talks about how we can create an agile workforce and lead continuous change. In these talks, I usually explore the view that the traditional old world view of change management is too slow and rigid for today's world.

You know the sort of slow change where the Board and Senior Management decide everything and in particular on what needs to change and how to do it.

The sort of change based on reports and incorrect historical data from within the business.

The sort of change crafted from Senior Leaders experience of doing it years ago. The sort of change where the people who know aren't included.

The sort of transformational change that is over complicated, planned in detail from end to end and too rigid.

The sort of change where you unfreeze, transition and refreeze to make sure the change sticks!

The sort of change that is done from the top rather than in an evolving and collaborative way.

The sort of change where it takes ages to get a decision made, change that is over controlled, bureaucratic and under led.

The sort of culture that is created where being a programme and project lead is like walking through treacle and political.

What is clear is that we are in an era of needing to lead continuous change - a world where we need to be agile. We need to create a culture of change readiness. A culture where people have the right mindsets and tools to continually evolve at pace and deliver change rapidly.

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Adapting your leadership to change

I believe that leadership, in its simplest form, is all about energy. As a leader it is really important to know how to create the energy for change. To enable leaders to do this I've created a really effective tool I call DRIVERS CAP.

It's a thinking framework that illustrates the four key elements that need to be in place when making real change happen.

Drivers For Change diagram

The framework also illustrates what happens when you miss elements out. When working with leaders to create effective change plans I challenge them to think about and answer questions in the four areas:

  1. How are you going to create a sense of urgency. How are you going to create the awareness for the need for change ? How are you going to create dissatisfaction with current reality?
  2. How are you going to collaborate to create an inspirational vision? How are you going to communicate in a way that creates desire for change and gives meaning?
  3. How are you going to create the plan? How do you makes sure people understand it and their part to play? How do you keep people informed of changes to the plan? How do you make it visual so people get the journey?
  4. How do you ensure the capability to change is in place? Have you developed enough coaches to support the change? What is the stakeholder roadmap? What is the training plan? Are the measures right as people go through change? How are you going to create a high challenge/high support culture? How are you going to check for ability?

With this framework being used I've seen organisations reduce costs dramatically, make change happen faster and ensure it is done in a much better way. In one organisation they saved £185M on a major change programme so I know it works!

Have a think about the changes you are making in your organisation. What elements are missing from your change plans? Are you creating the energy for change?

Where can I use the framework? 

1. Any situation requiring you to develop a change plan. 

2. When you are reviewing a change initiative and need to make changes. 

Putting Together a Change Plan

1. Make sure you understand the purpose and need for change. How will this change support the strategy? 

2. Identify key stakeholders and invite to workshop. 

3. Identify actions for each element of the framework. 

4. Develop plan to ensure all four elements are met. 

5. Communicate and engage people in the plan. 

Reviewing a change initiative 

1. Observe behaviours in people being impacted by the change and teams making change happen. 

2. Use the behaviours to understand what elements are missing . 

3. Challenge change team to demonstrate what they have done to ensure each element is in place. 

4. Develop next steps together. 

Have fun and every success,


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About the author

Graham Wilson

Graham Wilson

I enjoy and specialise in teaching leadership skills, how to create winning strategies, how to build high performance cultures. Outcomes and results are the most important measures for me!