Leading Others To Change

August 14, 2023

Leading Change

How do you lead others through change? 

The success of any change initiative begins with you as a leader: your leadership style, ability and skills. In other words, what you do and how you do it. Do you know how to motivate people to accept change? Watch this video to find out! 

Let’s say you’ve been given the mandate to take your team through a major organizational change. That is no easy task! You have to take people to go from where they are now to where they need to go. Most likely, there’s And you already know going to be push back and resistance. The two questions are: What do you do?  How do you do it?

I going to show you the top tips that successful leaders use. First though, I’ll start with a case study to set the stage.

Let’s assume that your organization change has been communicated and it’s about ready to happen. But you’re hearing that people are struggling!   If you’re going to lead people through change, you have to understand how people generally respond to disruption. 

Let’s start with a case study from John Hopkins Medical Center and their patients who were candidates for bypass surgery. This surgery is a lifesaving surgical procedure. It is recommended when other treatments, such as lifestyle changes, medications, and angioplasty. As you can imagine is the last course of action. 

That’s why it was so surprising to read results of this Study from John Hopkins Medical Center: Two years after life-saving bypass surgery, 90% of bypass surgery patients did not changed their lifestyle. The doctors clearly communicated that patients had to change their lifestyle. They used fear, threats and ultimatums. None of these tactics worked. 

Dr. Dean Ornish explained why; “Telling people who are lonely and depressed that they’re going to live longer, is not that motivating. Telling patients that they will live longer if they quit smoking & change their diet can crteate overwhelming pressure. Orshish says, “Who wants to live longer when you’re in such emotional pain?” Dr. Ornish took a different approach and it worked well with his patients. 77% of his patient’s changed their behaviour.  How? Not with threats, guilt, or fear, but with a new vision. Ornish called a “joy of living”

He asked patients, “What do you want to be able to do again?” One man said, “I want to be able to play with my grandchildren again.” Another said, “I want to go for long walks without the pain.” Dr. Ornish’s strategy worked because joy is a more powerful motivator than fear. These patients found their own motivation to change, based on the life they wanted to live. 

Here are my top tips for motivating people to change.

#1 Expect Emotional Reactions

Don’t be surprised by emotional reactions. You’ll probably see many reactions. The most common reactions to change are uncertainty, anxiety, fear and resistance. 

#2  Encourage People to Express Their Emotions

Encourage dialogue. Let people know it’s safe to talk about how they feel. In fact, a recent survey showed that 72% of employees said that being able to safely express their emotions helps them to adapt to change initiatives. The freedom to express difficult emotions prepares people to face disruption.

#3  Choose the Future They Want

In the midst of this change, help people to choose the future they want; the way they want to live. Motivate them with benefits and positive opportunities, not with not punishments and warnings

Given the opportunity, people might choose to be:

  • Better not bitter
  • To Improve their mental health, 
  • To resolve conflicts and remove stress 
  • To learn and grow
  • To advance their career

Help people to find their why, their reason and motivation to change. Do this and you will probably have a majority of people accepting and adapting to change.

I’m Mark DeVolder. Enjoy this incredible journey of change, becoming the person you want to be and helping others to find their why.

Dr. Mark DeVolder is a Top Change Management & Transformation Expert, Award Winning Motivational Keynote Speaker Empowering Confidence through Change. Mark can teach you how to change, anticipate business trends and accelerate future-proof transformation. He’s done it before with industry leaders like Qatar Petroleum, PepsiCo, Royal Bank of Canada and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

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