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Making change stick – A Leaders Guide

For many organisations, change is neither desirable nor simple. How can you help your people feel in control during times of transition? How can you minimise the ‘loss’ which often comes with change? What can you do to reduce conflict and build healthy teams, even when the rate of change keeps increasing? What behaviours help people thrive during change? Use these top tips from the experts:

Get your core message right and be consistent

Author of Difficult People Made Easy, Eleanor Shakiba says  ‘Build your communications around a single, snappy tagline. High impact taglines tend to be ten words or less. It helps to structure them using the ‘Because….we need to…’ formula. For example ‘Because of our success, we need to move.’ Once you’ve got your wording right, repeat your tagline over and over again. Repetition makes information stick.’

Be clear about expected behaviour

Psychotherapist and one of the UK’s leading NLP Trainers, Karen Meager explains ‘When change comes, people can react strangely at the chaos phase, which is just after they learn about the change. Perfectly competent workers can slide in performance or even become obstructive. People will act out of character during this phase, it is also important to hold people to account and make sure that the basic standards of work are met. Clarity, honesty and consistency helps to get people through the change without lasting damage in terms of trust and respect and negative effects on employees’ self esteem.

Allow people to Practice

Author of Real Leaders for the Real World, John McLachlan says ‘people will make more mistakes than normal, so it is important in a healthy culture to allow for this and provide plenty of safe opportunities for people to try out and test new processes or structures. Receiving feedback is essential. If you don’t listen to feedback it will cause problems later. You can find out how good you are at using feedback using John’s quick quiz Do you use Feedback to Succeed At this stage in the process of change leaders need to:

  • Be tolerant of errors and provide a forum for feedback on the change
  • Give prompt feedback to people in their team, don’t assume they will just get used to it
  • Take action on any unhelpful power dynamics emerging
  • Be prepared to spend more time on people-issues and giving feedback. This will pay off later.
  • Manage feedback upward appropriately.’

Find out more about making change stick. Sign up to the Great Minds Think Different series of articles, sent directly to your inbox each month. You can sign up by sending an e mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with the subject line Great Minds Think Differently.

Download a free first chapter of John and Karen’s first book Real Leaders for the Real World here Extract of Real Leaders for the Real World

Difficult People Made Easy is available via Amazon in the UK

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