Effective Leadership Strategies in Implementing Organizational Change

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Leaders have the challenge of implementing organizational change. Typically team members react differently to change. The main question that leaders need to answer is how can they implement organizational change effectively, make it stick, and not lose key players in the process?

On today’s podcast episode we interview Nancy Murphy, CEO of CSR Communications and Creator of Intrapreneurs Influence Lab. Today’s topics are locked in on effective change strategies, best leadership characteristics for influencing change, and techniques for managing resistance.  

What Nancy Learned From the Past 2 Years

From the past 2 years, Nancy learned three (3) important things worthy of reflection.

  1. Learn What’s Important to You – According to Nancy, the world is full of distractions. Consequently, focusing on what really matters pays dividends because it will lead to a place of making things happen. 
  2. Stay in Close Touch – Keeping in contact with your clients will make you aware of the things that you can further bring to the table. Bringing value is the key dynamic for staying relevant under varying circumstances.
  3. Adaptability – The past two years forced people to become innovative and creative.  Nancy realized that these are the prized skills that must be continued into the future.

Organizational Change – 3 Leadership Characteristics

According to Nancy there are three (3) leadership characteristics that help to support  organizational change.  

  1. Experimenter’s Mindset – Nancy mentioned in the podcast that this is the type of mindset a leader has to have to stay relevant. Leaders have to try things, play with stuff, learn, iterate and adapt. 
  2. Campaigner’s Commitment – Leaders need to reiterate the organization’s processes and policies to their team members again and again, with the same level of enthusiasm they did the first time.
  3. Get Curious, Not Furious – Real learning comes from genuine curiosity and it involves the attitude of not getting worked up when things go wrong. Instead, a leader should reflect on what can be learned, blindspots that need to be identified, and missing elements that can be remedied. 

Nancy has been in the industry for a long time and she has brought many people to their “aha” moments. She is an advocate of the experimenter’s mindset, guiding mentees to a place of genuine learning. Specifically, these leaders learn to ask relevant questions instead of getting annoyed or frustrated. 

3 Resistances to Organizational Change

Nancy discussed three (3) resistant behaviors that team members may exhibit during organizational change. She offers these actions that leaders can take to manage that resistance.  

  1. What if-ers – These are people on your team that tend to go to a “dark secluded place” and say something negative about the changes. Often, these folks can be the general counsel or the CFO. Nancy suggests encouraging these people to play on their strengths in order to eliminate blind spots and unnecessary risk for the organization.
  2. Status Quo Defenders – These are people in the organization who are allergic to deviation from the norm. Nancy believes these people are the most difficult to deal with. She suggests that these folks can be encouraged to do an assessment of the current company’s culture, processes, programs and initiatives with the question of what things should be retained to benefit the company. This helps them to reframe their mental model of resistance. 
  3. The Yes-No People – These people in the organization clearly agree with you on the record but do the exact opposite. They can be further categorized into people who are lacking in terms of “will” (the stallers) and who are lacking in terms of “way” (the stragglers). Stallers need more convincing power. Stragglers need skill-building by training. 

Who is Nancy Murphy?

Nancy spent her career saying what others are afraid to – and learning to say it in ways that others will listen. She’s the founder and president of CSR Communications and creator of Intrapreneurs Influence Lab. Her passion is teaching leaders how to make organizational change stick. From challenging stereotypes of girls in her Catholic school more than 40 years ago, to her first job after college convincing nonprofits to engage youth volunteers, or her role as board chair of a global nonprofit transforming the way we do international development,

Nancy mentors and advises executives from local governments, federal agencies, global nonprofits, foundations and Fortune 100 companies. As a trainer and speaker, Nancy has shared her expertise from Kuala Lumpur to Kansas City and London to Las Vegas. She holds a master’s degree in public affairs from University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School, a master’s in health communication from Boston University, and a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from University of Dayton.

To learn more about implementing organizational change, download this episode now.

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