5 Tips to Make Any Change a Success

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

If you are a leader rolling out change after change in your organization, you don’t need us to let you know that many things can go wrong. Based on our experience around the globe helping leadership teams create successful organizational change, here are five recommendations to support your success. 

60-Second Change Speech 

If you asked your team about the business context for the changes you are leading, would everyone say the same thing and would it be correct? If not, you need a short, clear message to educate and inspire your employees. Think about a change you are leading and write down the answers to these questions: Why are the changes happening? What specifically is changing? What in their world is not changing? Practice this speech to get it down to 60 seconds or less. Then start spreading the word. 

Embarrass Yourself Daily 

In the pursuit of innovation it is important to push limits. As a leader, do you? We encourage you to do something every day that makes you uncomfortable. Think of an area at work where you wish you took more risks. Maybe it is voicing your opinion in a way you haven’t, asking questions you haven’t, trying new approaches, or having more fun with your team. Whatever it is, find one small thing that pushes you to be more, do more, and create more. This is the first step to getting your employees to take more risks, have more fun, and be more innovative. 

Break Down Silos 


We live in a world of social networks, permanent reachability, and easy travel, yet establishing productive, trusting relationships has become more challenging. Technology does not automatically contribute to reduction of boundaries. In fact, without human connection, business relationships will not thrive. Here’s a small step forward: Identify a key person you work with whom you don’t see as much as you would like. Brainstorm a list of all the ways that you can build a better human connection through email, phone, video chat, and so on. Then start implementing one a week and watch the silos start to dissolve. 

Give a Eulogy 

We all know that change is like a death: the death of the old, and the birth of something knew. Yet many people hold onto the old, unable to emotionally move forward with the new. One way to help with this is to use an approach that most people use in their personal lives when someone dies: a eulogy. Have your team write a eulogy for the old organizational systems or processes that are gone. Tell them to have fun with it, and highlight all things they will now miss with the new changes being implemented. They will come to work the next day reborn.  

Kill the Sharks in the Water of Change 

In the movie Jaws, everyone is scared to swim because they know that somewhere under the water is a shark that can attack. Change is the same way. There are sharks swimming around in the minds and hearts of people that threaten the change success. They paralyze people and kill change. Have your team brainstorm a list of all the processes, systems, people, and attitudes that, if not addressed, can kill the change. This in itself is very therapeutic. Take it a step further and have them prioritize the top sharks. Then work together to come up with action steps to cage those sharks so they don’t kill the change!

Want to learn more tips for managing change? Check out Rapid Retooling or join Andrew and Lawrence December 8-9 in Austin, Texas, for ATD’s LearnNow Change Management workshop.

About the Author
Mr. Polsky spent 20 years in OD & Learning, teaching more than 10,000 professionals worldwide before co-founding Teams of Distinction. With a Masters in Organization Development and a lifelong education in human behavior (beginning at the age of 9 at the kitchen table) Mr. Polsky has been a life-long student of human behavior in and out of the workplace and prides himself on bringing his kitchen table wisdom to boardroom roundtables.
About the Author
Before co-founding Teams of Distinction, Mr. Gerschel was the COO of a $17 million multi-media learning company in Europe and the Director of global leadership development and e-learning for Sanofi-Aventis Pharmacuetical. Mr. Gerschel speaks globally on a regular basis and is fluent in five languages. Fusing his diverse corporate career and international knowledge, Mr. Gerschel offers clients a unique expert’s take on raising the bar on their productivity. Since 2008 he has educated and inspired more than 30,000 leaders on five continents through his speeches, coaching, training, and books;
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