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Supporting Internal Change Initiatives

We don’t always lead change initiatives; sometimes we need to support a change initiative that someone else in the organization is leading. And – as an additional challenge – we may be unsure of that change initiative and it may not be one that we support easily.

When you are tasked with a change initiative to support, and are uncertain about your feelings around the change, consider the following to increase your comfort level (and therefore enable you to better support the change initiative):

  • Ask questions to understand what is happening and why. What is the driving reason behind the change initiative? How does it align to the organization’s long term strategy and goals? The more you understand about the change, the better you are able to support it and answer questions to get others’ support.
  • Make a list of opportunities and losses that will occur from the implementation of the change. How will it affect you and others in the organization? How will it make the workplace a better place to be, improve employees’ job, enable for better competition, increase revenues and profitability, reduce costs, or improve customer service?
  • Keep a positive attitude! It is easy to be dragged down by others’ negative feelings about the change. Keep a positive attitude and help them to understand the value of the change both from an organizational perspective and for the individual within the organization.
  • Share information. As you learn more about the initiative, share with others who you need support from for the initiative to be a success. The more people know, the more supportive they can be.  Communication is essential. Similarly, share information from those “in the trenches” with the change leader so that the right decisions can be made to implement a successful change initiative.

Supporting change initiatives requires that you are a positive force in the organization – someone who others’ trust and go to for advice. Consider the following:

  • Do you have informal power?  You don’t need to be the boss to get things done! Consider your interactions with others. Do you build strong relationships? Do others seek you out for your opinions, suggestions and to help them solve problems? Are you trusted by your fellow co-workers?
  • Do you adapt? Do you easily adapt to change? Do you see the value of change and get excited about the opportunities it brings? Are you always looking for better ways of getting the work done? When co-workers see that you are excited about change, they become excited too.
  • Are you a good listener and communicator? Do you really listen to what others’ have to say? Do you hear the “words behind the words?” If so, you begin to understand when others are concerned about what is happening around them.  Can you easily communicate throughout the organization? Do you know how to communicate effectively with others to get them excited about the change that will occur? Do you know how to reach the most people through a variety of communication channels?
  • Do you have emotional intelligence? Are you aware of your own emotions and how you react in certain situations? Are you aware of the emotions of others – even if they are not obvious? Do you actively take steps to manage your own and others’ emotions to keep things moving forward?
  • Do you understand the organization as a whole? And not just your little corner of the world? Those who can support change initiatives and get others’ excited about what is happening understand the organization as a whole and the challenges throughout the organization in various departments. They can effectively help others to see how a change may help them and/or their department better meet organizational goals.

You don’t have to be the leader on a change initiative to have an impact! Supporting change initiatives is an essential within organizations and you can show your leadership skills by effectively supporting and helping to drive forward positive change.

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