Modeling the change

If you seek to lead, invest at least 50% of your time leading yourself.  –Dee Hock

Leaders can play a key role in reinforcing the new normal by visibly and consistently supporting the change. Whether we know it or not, people are looking to us to model the change. Here are some tips from change leaders about effective role modeling.

Develop a personal vision. Decide what the change will mean to you and how you need to behave differently. According to Betsy Jordyn from Accelera Consulting, leaders should “Increase your think time before embarking on a change effort. Look at more stuff and think about it harder.” Be clear in your own mind about the reasons for the change and what you want to reinforce.

Be responsible for the change in your mindsets and behavior. Remember, leaders are role models by default (either positive or negative). Be intentional about aligning your actions with the new normal. Jamie Flinchbaugh from Lean Learning says that role modeling is about our presence, our actions, and our decisions. “Doing the right thing when no one is looking is important; doing the right thing when everyone is looking becomes an example to follow.”

Develop a strong team. Within organizations, reinforcing change is a group effort. Leaders at all levels need to be committed to the change and modeling the new behaviors. Think about ways you can support others who are engaged in the change effort. McKinsey & Company points out that “role modeling by individuals must be confirmed by the groups that surround them if it is to have a permanent or deep influence.”

Serving as a role model can be an ongoing challenge for leaders. What other actions have you taken to reinforce changes?

— Dee Anne Bonebright

Learn more:

Being a role model for change, Betsy Jordyn
Lessons from the road: Role modeling for change, Jamie Flinchbaugh
Psychology of change management, McKinsey & Co.



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