Get a new perspective

perspectiveAs leaders of change, we all need to reach out and get a new perspective every now and then. Last week, I was able to do just that while hosting a leadership event for participants in our Luoma Leadership Academy. We brought in Dan Olson, founder of the Minnesota Change Management Network, a professional association for change management professionals, to share his expertise with leaders in our colleges and universities.

Dan has deep experience as a change management leader and consultant and he graciously shared everything from the big picture of leading change to specific tools that can be helpful in managing change like heat maps, current and future state definitions, key role maps, change curves, communication templates, culture assessments, and behavioral anchors, which he has available online at

In framing up his talk, Dan shared with the audience the greatest contributors to change management success, which includes:

  1. Active and visible executive sponsorship
  2. Frequent and open communication about the change
  3. Structured change management approach
  4. Dedicated change management resources and funding
  5. Employee engagement and participation
  6. Engagement with and support from middle management.

While each of these contributors make sense and are not new ideas, we all know that “common sense is not always common practice.”

As leaders, I challenge you to think about a change you are leading and ask yourself (and others) the following questions to make sure that you are doing everything you can to build success into your effort.

  1. Are senior leaders engaged in leading and talking about the change effort with multiple stakeholders?
  2. Do you have a clear communication plan for each stakeholder group affected by the change? Are you using multiple modes of communicating, such as in-person meetings and forums, email, webcasts and webinars, and media messages?
  3. Are you using a common change model or framework for managing the change? Is the model familiar to everyone who is working on the change? Examples include: Kotter’s 8-step model, ADKAR, etc.
  4. Have you allocated staff time and money to managing this change? What dedicated resources are you investing in ensuring a successful change effort?
  5. Have you created multiple opportunities for employee involvement in the change, such as task forces, implementation teams, etc?
  6. Have you involved middle managers and empowered them to lead parts of the change effort?

Anita Rios


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