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Leading Change in Organizations

by Emily McCutcheon

Your organization will change. It’s a fact. In a highly competitive global business environment, being able to adapt quickly to new conditions is a key predictor of success.

Being ready to change is the first step, but then what? How do you know what to change or how to make it happen?

It's important to begin with a framework for thinking about change. Ideally, you need something adaptable that will work for your organization's unique context. It should be outcome-driven and focused on problem-solving – no matter how strong your initial plans are, you will encounter problems. Smart leaders expect this and know how to plan for it. With the right plan and tools in place, you can set the right direction for change in your organization to ensure its success time after time. 


An important first step is diagnosing and analyzing your change initiative. Don't spend valuable time starting from scratch when you can access insights from the failures and best practices of others. Organizational strategy informs the process of change leadership, and it is important to have a strong base to start.

Next, perform an analysis of your stakeholders. Who will be on-board? Who will dig their feet in and resist? Why? By anticipating roadblocks from the beginning and identifying the key players who you can count on to help push things through, you will be better prepared and able to handle challenges more strategically.

With the right plan and tools in place, you can set the right direction for change.Tweet: With the right plan and tools in place, you can set the right direction for change. From @rotmanexecutive:


There are many varying models of change. Take the time to explore existing models. Do they align with your time and resource restraints? Do they address the importance of people-focused communication? Do they help prepare you to motivate and inspire your team? 


The hardest part of any change initiative is getting people on-side. You'll find that many of the people in your organization are resistant to change, and it is your role as a change driver – with the help of the right tools – to address their concerns. 

Will the initiative make things run smoother? Will it free up time by eliminating clunky processes? A natural inclination is to brush aside questions assuming resisters have not understood all the benefits of the change initiative. However, think about these questions carefully and consider them early indicators of unanticipated issues.  Answer them honestly. The best approach is an authentic one that shows respect for the people involved while demonstrating your confidence that this is the best path. Lead by example. 


Research into change initiatives like yours has identified the strategies, best practices, and frameworks that that lead to success. Rotman's Leading Change program is a dynamic, intensive and high-impact way to help refine the nuances involved in your unique change initiative.

Participants benefit from the expertise of Rotman's faculty, as well as a customized change model specific to their initiative, a network of peers from across industries, and one-on-one coaching.

We're here to help. Visit our website or speak to our expert Learning Advisor for more information.

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Speak to our expert Learning Advisor about choosing the right program for you or your organization.