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Is inclusion the missing ingredient to managing change?

January 25, 2016

Are you one of the millions of people around the world suffering from change fatigue? If so, you have plenty of company, and if you are a leader you are most likely struggling with how to overcome this phenomenon. As a matter of fact, according to the 2013 Katzenbach Center Survey on Culture and Change Management, 65% of employees globally are change fatigued. They are waiting for change to stop. Unfortunately (or fortunately) for your organization, the pace of change is not going to slow down and certainly won’t stop.

Organizational change no longer consists of stand-alone initiatives with a beginning, middle and an end. Successfully leading change is now a critical core competency in managing any organization’s strategy portfolio of initiatives aimed at driving growth. It is an ongoing, iterative process that can prove incredibly disruptive on a number of different fronts—most notably on people and culture.

In addition to change fatigue, I’m also finding a troubling trend around a lack of confidence in leadership. I’m not referring to leading the day-to-day agenda of the business. I’m talking about the ability to create and sustain a strategic change agenda. Overall, people have the perception that their leadership team lacks the tools and ability to drive change forward in a way that will achieve maximum value for the business.

The third piece, which is equally as important and (I think) is frankly the biggest obstacle, is the fact that people feel like change is done to them, not by them. They don’t feel included. They have no problem with the leadership team deciding what the strategic direction is and where they’re heading as an organization. But, they want to be involved in how they get there.

Not surprisingly, in many organizations, the individual contributors and front-line managers have valuable line of sight to the customers and process that the leadership team doesn’t have (and rightly so). So, they want to be involved in charting the course. And who can blame them, right? They’re OK with the vision being determined by leadership and they understand this as their role. But, inclusive changechange done by usis necessary to overcome the barriers that exist to sustainable, transformational organizational change.

What changes are you going through as you execute your plan? How can an inclusive change leadership culture benefit your organization? What success factors would you add to this list?

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