It used to be that death and taxes were the only two sure things in a lifetime, and that a job with a blue chip organisation meant a job for life. This outlook has changed considerably – we are living longer, and changing careers, not just jobs, more often.

However, it seems that any position of responsibility taken now as your career progresses, comes with a requirement to handle and manage change. Adopting new processes, developing new products, coping with new cultures, moving to a lean thinking approach, restructuring, rationalising, new products and services…all symptoms of today’s innovative, competitive and challenging management careers.

So what makes you an effective “catalyst for change”? Here are a few thoughts:

1. Willingness to challenge the status quo, and look for change. Small or large, great leaders are always pushing people to identify improvements in what they do, all of which will help deliver the vision of the organisation.

2. Ability to communicate change effectively. In our experience, many change programs and projects fall down when the outcomes are “imposed” on the staff, often at the end of the planning process. We recommend that staff who will be affected are engaged very early in the process, and their opinions sought as to what can be achieved by doing things differently.

3. Clear plans in place. If everyone understands the process and timescales for change, and their responsibilities within that process, that is a great starting place.

4. Delegation, review and project management. Use plans and performance measures to assess the effectiveness of delivery for the change program. Set regular reviews with stakeholders, anticipate problems and put contingency plans in place where risks identified.

In short, identify the direction of travel, make sure everyone knows and has had their input, and then stay on top of progress through reviews. Insist on high levels of performance and don’t be content with average. Communication, communication, communication.

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