3 change pitfalls and how to avoid them

Leadership Tip of the week

Leading an organizational transformation is hard, learnt many lessons as Customer Director through the Coop rescue.

If you’ve got a major change on the horizon (or if you’re currently leading one that’s stuck in a ditch), you need to be aware of three common pitfalls — and how to avoid them.

  1. Don’t underestimate the scope of the work. Executing a transformation at scale typically requires more time and coordination than leaders expect. To counter this, make sure you have realistic expectations. Take an incremental approach to the overall goal by launching a series of small-scale projects and initiatives led by distinct teams. And be sure that all of these related initiatives — and the people who lead them — are aligned, communicate effectively, and avoid taking on overlapping or conflicting work.
  2. Don’t overestimate your colleagues’ capacity to execute your vision while continuing to carry out their existing day-to-day responsibilities. Listen for feedback about their ability to deliver. Be ready to adapt accordingly.
  3. Don’t hide why this transformation is important . Be transparent and express why you believe the organization should move in this new direction. You want to be a leader who inspires trust throughout the transition.

This tip is adapted from “How Leaders Get in the Way of Organizational Change,” by Ron Carucci

Author: Andrew Mann

Managing Partner at NorthBailey. Having had senior marketing & insight roles at Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, Coop and M&S, I'm now using my experience & network to solve strategic marketing problems for NorthBailey clients

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