Change is Coming: The Role of Executives in Change Management

“Change is coming”--it's a bit of a troupe. After the world-changing experience of the COVID pandemic, frequent, rapid change in business has become universal and continual. [Check out our blog on important lessons learned.] Some of the biggest changes are common across all businesses:

You need more than a generic announcement to effectively create awareness and buy-in. Employees need detailed information from leadership. Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, the “Boss” was seen as the unapproachable figurehead; a person to be obeyed. Today's workforce demands a focus on individual satisfaction and team contributions and requires managers who can relate and lead in new ways.

How Executives Contribute to Successful Change

  1. Communicate Directly. Help employees understand the business’s need for change. This message coming from the executive level provides reassurance that the leader has a clear vision for the future.
  2. Build a Coalition. Managers and peers are strategic when giving employees unit-specific information on how the change will both affect and benefit them. Approved messaging that ties individuals’ work into the fabric of the organization and impacts the overall vision is best delivered by direct supervisors (see graph below).
  3. Active and Visible Executive Sponsorship. Continually showing support for change initiatives doesn’t have to be time-consuming. With the help of the coalition, recorded messages and brief appearances will reinforce the connection between change work and the company’s vision. There are many ways for executives to get involved without taxing their schedules.
  4. Develop the Organizational Change Management Muscle. All managers have a "day job." Building a dedicated change management function, hiring an external partner, or including change management skills in leadership training can help to ensure the success of initiatives across your organization.

Business leaders are the preferred senders of organizational messages around change management.

Best Practices in Change Management_Launch Team

Prosci. (2020). Figure 8.5 - Preferred sender for organizational and personal messages [Graph]. In Best Practices in Change Management (11th Edition-Excerpt ed., p. E28).

Who delivers the message matters to employees’ engagement and acceptance of the changes being made within an organization.

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Creating Positive Awareness

Ensuring that employees understand why the specific change is coming, why now, and what are the risks of not changing (both for the company and for their team) creates positive awareness. The best-laid plans of senior leadership and project managers are destined to fail if the individual employee tasked with changing their behavior does not choose to change.

Early support will increase your change success. From company-wide messaging to targeted, job-specific directives, you'll need to reach employees where they're at with omni-channel communications. Communications experts can help you craft the right messages at the right time to the right people.

"You're leading in unprecedented times—and you can't over-communicate."

Looking for more information on how to best approach change? Launch Team Inc. helps B2B companies grow and change through internal and external communications, branding, positioning, and change management

Let's talk through your needs together—request a free consultation today. 

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