Making Change Happen: Six Steps to Effective Leadership

As a leader, we know you want to unlock your organisation’s full potential so it can achieve what it’s truly capable of.

Drawing on our wide-ranging experience working with organisations across the UK, and harnessing renowned author Peter Scholte’s Leadership Competencies, here’s our quick guide to empowering your leaders to emerge stronger, more focused and able to achieve great things.

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1.    Understand the work as a system and lead accordingly – Organisations tend to put similar functions together “because all the finance/IT/housing etc people understand each other”.  In reality, customers just want a service providing or a problem solving – they don’t care if their demand cuts across many services. Leaders should align capability to demand, engage all stakeholders and see the system as a whole.

2.    Use measures – not targets – and understand variability – Many organisations produce metrics and set targets in the belief that these will improve performance.  However, targets can result in more unintended negative consequences that do more harm than good.  A better alternative is to determine what matters to customers and measure this using ‘time series’ data. Using time series data graphs enables teams to see trends, anomalies and a full “picture” of what’s really happening.

3.    Understand people and how they behave as they do – The softer, social aspects of organisations give insight into the thinking and beliefs of individuals and teams. Only by engaging on a meaningful level to understand people’s drivers, concerns and hopes can changes to work systems be effectively integrated into the organisation to deliver improvement rather than mere change.

4.    Build a learning organisation, not a compliant one – The only certainty is that the world keeps changing at an exponentially increasing rate.  If your organisation cannot learn, grow and develop, it will fail at all levels. Trust, clarity and the ability to make mistakes – and learn from them – are the core drivers for sustainable futures.

5.    Be aware of the interconnectedness between all of this and all of your stakeholders – All of the above are interconnected with many wider factors, some of which are outside your immediate organisation. Failing to engage with your stakeholders to build understanding, connection and common purpose will limit the ability of your teams to bring about meaningful change.

6.    Give vision, meaning and direction to your people – This is the glue which binds everything together. Considering fundamental questions such as “who are our customers?”, “what matters to them?” and “what is our purpose?”, and building meaningful answers for everyone, is the role of the organisation’s leaders.  Without this, people push in different directions, create their own fiefdoms and, ultimately, create dysfunctional organisations.

To discuss how ICE practitioners could work with your leaders to make change happen in your organisation, feel free to contact Martin Thomas, Director of Organisational Change for an informal chat: 07899 904237 /

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