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5 Steps for Leaders Making Changes

Updated: Feb 1, 2023

I always strive to make things better.

This is incredibly beneficial at times, yet lately I’ve been thinking about how unhelpful this type of striving can be - especially if you don’t know what better even means.

Striving for improvement can be overwhelming. Leaders use their valuable time and resources to craft plans calling for big changes and seismic shifts in how they do their work as individuals or as an organization.

While these plans for big changes and seismic shifts can be inspiring, the implementation is often where things fall apart.

Again and again I see big dreams and goals lose their steam because no one was clear how to reach them, no one was trained how to achieve success, and resources were never as big as the dreams.

Have you noticed any of these pitfalls as you’ve planned to make changes?

Planning for Change? Here Are 4 Potential Pitfalls:

1. You don't fully assess the current status and wind up trying to fix the wrong things;

2. You don't have an ongoing evaluation process so it is unclear what is working or not working (and you wind up wasting resources);

3. You forget to incorporate the newest research and thinking and wind up reinventing the wheel; or

4. Your plan for success is not clearly mapped out and your change making work loses steam and falls to the wayside.

When making change, attending to the little steps, understanding their implications within the larger goals, and reconfiguring them when realities shift is a requirement. Without this you'll always feel behind and never reach your full potential.

So what is a leader to do when making change in themself or their organization? I find a five step process can get you out of turbulent waters.

5 Steps to Successful Change

ONE: Assessment of Strengths

First up is to generously identify the strengths of:

  • Your leadership style

  • Your rhythm and method of working

  • The organization you work within

  • The team around you

  • The overall system you exist in

TWO: Vision

Next is to understand what your ideal state would be:

  • What are you doing?

  • What is different?

  • Who is around you?

  • What does it feel like?

  • What are you accomplishing?

  • Why is this important to you?

THREE: Action Planning

The third step is to create a solution oriented plan, including:

  • Define the ultimate success in tangible and intangible ways

  • Identify key milestones on the road to success

  • Clarify initial steps that need to be taken (and road blocks that might get in the way)

  • Continue to identify next steps, as progress is made

  • Know the time sensitive action items

FOUR: Finding Support

Fourth is to ensure you bring in resources to support the change, such as:

  • Find a qualified coach

  • Tap into training on specific skills needed for implementation

  • Identify tools to enhance and create structure and strong communication as you change

FIVE: Continuous Evaluation

Finally, continue tracking your success:

  • Hold monthly gut-checks to reaffirm goals and progress

  • Make micro-changes to your plan, as needed

  • Incorporate 6, 9 and 12 month formal assessments

  • Celebrate successes along the way

Is this easy? Not at all! Yet being methodical and thoughtful about your goals and the path to get there is what is necessary for successful change making.While the structure outlined above may sound rigid, it is amazing how each client I work with creates their own path to change that matches their personality, style and passions.

If you’re curious about how to turn your ideas for personal or professional change into action, why not jump on my calendar to see if we’d work well together? I know you don’t have the luxury to waste money, time and resources . . . let’s see if I can help you reach your goals faster and with more energy.

Keep finding ways to strengthen your change-making ability where it makes sense for you and I look forward to staying connected!

If you enjoyed this blog, join my newsletter for more insights, stories and actions for ambitious nonprofit leaders. And in the meantime, keep up with me on LinkedIn!


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