Taking a new leadership position can be exhilarating! We are full of innovative ideas. As an outsider to the group, we instantly see ways the department could improve. We often start making a list of all things we want to change, driven by the desire to make a positive impact! However, we forget a few key things. The department is made up of individuals, individuals who may not have your vision or perhaps don’t even think they need to change. If you want your vision to succeed, there are a few things you need to keep in mind when planning your execution.
1. Don’t change anything for 30 days. Unless further damage to customer relationships will occur without change, take time to get to know the team and the current processes. Often leaders are so exuberant to initiate change that they don’t take time to understand why things are done the way they are. You may even find your vision won’t work because you failed to take certain things into consideration. Spend time building rapport with the team and analyzing the best way to strategically implement your plans.
2. Don’t change everything at once. Most people don’t like change. If you completely upturn the entire department, you will meet a lot of resistance, and the implementation of your changes will be slowed. Instead, prioritize the changes, and build a schedule to implement. Let people have time to adjust. The bigger the change, the more adjustment time is needed.
3. Let the team lead the change. If you spend the time to build relationships, then you will have a team who is willing to look at how to make the department better. Instead of supplying all the answers, ask good questions. Let the team identify the gaps and areas that need improvement. Then guide them to the solutions. Assign someone from the team to be the champion of each change and let them drive the improvement.
Building trust and getting the entire team involved in the change will result in quicker success. People are more willing to make changes if they feel they have some control. Your change strategy will be more successful if you remember that the department is made up of individuals and people get onboard more willingly if you bring them alongside you versus dragging them with you.
Jana Axline is president and leadership coach at Axline Solutions. Through her leadership musings she hopes to inspire audiences to grow as leaders and ultimately achieve who they were created to be. For more information visit Axline Solutions.