10 questions for a change manager to consider

As a change manager, you need to ask yourself the right questions for change to land within your organisation. Here’s a list of the 10 most pertinent ones:


1. Have you created the right context for change?

Have you ‘paved the way’ for change? One of the most vital roles of leadership is to anticipate the future of the organisation and respond proactively to its challenges. Therefore, you must constantly reinvent your business to maintain your competitive advantage. Not only in market position, but also on procedures, processes, software, hardware, physical and hybrid workspaces, etc.. It’s your job to charge all Six Batteries of Change. Context is a much stronger driver of behaviour than communication or merely saying you have to change.

2. Can you paint the big and the small picture?

Vision is the big picture, and it is crucial for the success of the business. But in addition to the big picture, people need the little picture: how to bring it back to their experience, their role, their context. Talking about transformation is the big picture. How we are going to do it is the small picture.


3. Is it my or their or our vision?

A compelling vision of the future inspires employees to set and achieve ambitious business goals. Of even greater importance is the sense of meaning people derive from their job when they can link their contributions to the achievement of that vision. But if the vision belongs only to top management, it will never be an effective force for transformation. So, the crucial question becomes: “Whose vision is it?”. If you want employees to feel as connected to their work as the executives at the retreat, you need to involve them in its creation.


4. What is my organisational culture and what is the employees’ perspective?

To mobilise your workforce to transform, you need to know what the people in the organisation are thinking. For this, don’t rely on second-hand information or assumptions about what you think employees are thinking. But invest in a measurement tool, to make sure you really understand the culture. (Yes, culture can be measured!) Only then you can design a strategy that builds on synergies and fills perception gaps.

5. Do you give rigorously honest answers to difficult questions?

In uncertain times, employees need to be confident that their leaders are giving them honest information so that they can make informed choices about their own jobs, careers and futures. If you can’t answer every question, it’s best to tell people you understand their concerns but don’t know the answer. It is even better to tell people you have the information but cannot disclose it than to withhold or distort the truth.


6. Can you clearly explain “what’s in it for them”?

The question most often asked about change is definitely “What’s in it for me?”. You need to ask that question for yourself and for your employees and prepare an honest and concrete answer. And share it. If you find yourself making things up, you know you’ll find resistance and disbelief in your path.

7. Do you know what should stay the same and not change?

The biggest challenge for leaders is to know the difference between what should remain and what should be changed. Make two lists and put them side by side. It creates a different emotional response from employees around the change than if you only talk about what is changing.


8. Is your communication concrete and focused on behaviour?

Organisations send out two sets of messages about change. One set of messages is delivered through formal communication channels (speeches, newsletters, corporate videos, values statements, etc.). The other set of messages is delivered informally through a combination of “off the record” remarks and daily activities. Both types should be aimed at people’s desired behaviour. For today’s sceptical employee audience, action-free rhetoric quickly disintegrates into empty slogans and corporate propaganda. What you do in the hallway is more powerful than what you say in the conference room.

9. Are you creating the illusion that the change has already been accomplished?

As important as it is to know what employees think before the change, it is crucial to have a system for tracking employee perceptions throughout the process. When communicating change, leadership must be especially careful not to create the illusion that the change has already been accomplished after it has been communicated. You should gather organisational feedback immediately after communicating each key message and repeat it often during the process.


10. Are you connecting to the heart?

To be an effective change manager, it is not enough to appeal to people’s logic; you must also appeal to their emotions. As leaders come to understand that human skills are the key to organisational change, human emotions take on new meaning. Large-scale organisational change almost always evokes the same sequence of reactions: denial, negativity, a moment of choice, cautious acceptance, and commitment. You can facilitate this emotional process by investing in your emotional intelligence and your human approach. If it is ignored, it will erode the transformation effort.

Changing the position or status of an object requires energy. Six Batteries of Change shows managers how to develop transformational competences by creating a more energised organisation capable of dealing with faster and more complex change. Find out more!

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