Tips to Lead Change in Your Organization

By Marsha Petrie Sue, MBA

Policy change! Downsizing! Conflict! Improving morale! Leaders are clamoring for ways to manage change. It seems, however, the top managers want change but are not necessarily willing to be part of the process. How about you?

An excellent article in the Harvard Business Review asks this very question. As a leader, you have to model the change you expect. Part of this process is practicing how you will communicate the expected change and how you insure understanding by the group.

change-architect-sign1This is from the HBR Article by Elisabeth Johnson and worthy of repeating: “In particular, there are four questions that senior teams often skate through too quickly: (Click here to download the article.)

1. Why do we need to change, and why now? What are the imperatives driving this change?
Why is the previous strategy no longer good enough? Where on the P&L are we feeling, or anticipating, pain? Are you sure you want X to change, even if it means you can’t have Y anymore?

2. What is the full extent of the change we need? Don’t underestimate the extent of the change you need, either privately or publicly. However tempting it is to tell people that this is just an incremental change — when it is nothing of the sort — or however politically expedient it seems to underplay the extent of the change required, a lack of clarity about the extent of the change required will make subsequent conversations about resources and priorities much harder.

3. If we figure out 1 and 2, what should improve as a result? How will we measure the improvement we’ve been targeting? And perhaps most overlooked of all:

4. How does this new strategy or change link to previous strategies? Answering this question is critical if leaders are to reduce the confusion that a cumulative overload of strategic or change initiatives — another year, another “strategy” — and their potentially
conflicting targets can cause. If leaders can’t explain these links clearly, then you need to revisit the need for this change (Questions 1–3) or phase out some of the existing initiatives.”


Start by using a Change Readiness Assessment on How to Embrace and Drive Change.  Click here to download this complimentary survey.

Change management is the most requested topic in my speaking practice. In performing needs assessments with many industries, the main topics that become the basis of the information are emotional intelligence, personal responsibility, dumping the entitlement mentality and improving self-awareness. Leading change should not be a mystery. Instead of simply preaching what is needed and expected, effective leadership helps people navigate through the minefield of complex “gray areas” encountered in today’s dynamic workplace.  Are you ready? Is your team?


Thank you! Marsha
Cell: 602 418-1991
For more information concerning Marsha speaking to your group, please contact Marcia Snow
Marsha Petrie Sue, MBA

Professional Speaker, Executive Coach, Author


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