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Hasse Jansen, 08 Jun '16

3 Methods for Effectively Leading Change

Walking a continuously changing path requires a structured approach. Navigate change confidently and in a controlled way with these change management methods. 

Change is the only constant, is what they say. Unfortunately, when it comes to incorporating change within our own businesses, it is usually easier said than done. In fact, only about 20% of businesses are considered to have the strong leadership capabilities needed for effectively managing change.

So how can you fix this problem? How can you ensure that when the need for change arises, you will be able to successfully alter your company’s course? Here are a few tips that can help you lead change effectively.

How to focus on what truly matters

In fast-paced markets where resources are scarce, it is essential to allocate resources wisely. For many businesses, the best way to optimize their use of resources is by implementing agile methodology and lean manufacturing. Both methods have the same end goal—creating value for your customers – but both have different ways of getting there.

In agile methodology, focus on the customer is achieved by conducting regular self-inspections and external reviews on the areas of your business that are most important to your customer. Being agile is being flexible. It is about being able to change direction quickly and often, so you don’t work on anything that doesn’t add value, so you don’t waste resources.

Lean manufacturing is similar in that it is also focused on improving efficiency. However, this method is focused more on eliminating waste—removing processes that don’t add value for your customer and improving the ones that do. It is about reducing variability in the production process and rigorous capacity planning, so you don’t waste resources.

Identify your primary constraint and resolve

Of course, for the tactics of agile methodology and lean manufacturing to be truly effective, it is vital that you correctly identify which processes and investments will help you deliver the most value to your customers—as well as which processes are impeding your progress.

The Business Triangle is an excellent tool to properly identify constraints. The Business Triangle focuses on four primary capabilities that are essential to the success of any business:

  1. Developing a winning value proposition
  2. Selling during perfect purchase moments
  3. Delivering value and building your reputation
  4. Using supporting capabilities such as IT or HR to create economies of scale

All of these capabilities are ultimately focused on creating a superior experience for your customers.

Business Triangle

Using the Business Triangle makes it easy to accurately determine what the primary constraint to delivering customer value, or ‘choke point’ is at any given time. Find it, fix it, and on to ‘the next worst thing’. You’ll always be working on whatever yields the highest return on investment, without even thinking about it.

Everyday business consistently aligned with strategy

As convenient as it would be to simply use these tactics once and then stuff them in a drawer, today’s competitive environments demand continuous adjustment. Change is the new normal. The WHAT and HOW will continue to change forever, but this is no reason to panic and fall back to ad hoc micromanagement.

Provide your team with a context and explain them WHY, and they will figure out ‘how’ to do ‘what’ themselves. When you visualize priorities in a Growth Map, teams and individuals will be able to create their own sub goals in line with the overall company goals. Employee motivation will surge as team members are allowed and even encouraged to find new ways to improve processes and products.

Whether you choose Agile or Lean, use the Business Triangle or the Growth Map, it is clear that you need a structured approach to be able to walk a continuously changing path. Learning and trying new things in a controlled way needs to become a routine when you want to lead change.

You now know how to. Go ahead, be consistent in your approach to change and make it happen.