When leaders attempt to implement large organizational changes, the odds are often stacked against them: According to a McKinsey survey of more than 3,000 executives, corporate or enterprise transformations have over a 60% failure rate. That statistic can’t be encouraging for the leaders at the helm of these organizational overhauls who need to figure out how to retrain employees, develop new practices and policies, and so much more.
However, as a recent article in Forbes points out, many leaders responsible for organizational transformations focus on changing everything except for themselves. In cases like these, while the entire organization evolves around them, leaders remain unchanged, or outside the process, in order to push through new transformations, and this causes them to experience severe stress that threatens their ability to spearhead such large organizational changes. Of course, managing major change can be much easier said than done, so take a look at some methods for maintaining perspective and navigating the difficulties of corporate transformations.
Recognize Your Triggers
Much of the Forbes article focuses on triggers, or behaviors that elicit negative responses when encountered. Since the process of directing organizational change is inherently stressful, having an awareness of your own triggers can help you avoid situations that may evoke anger, anxiety, and a range of other counterproductive or harmful reactions.
It’s important to not only identify your triggers but to understand their deeper significance. For example, if you find poor communication is a trigger, determine why it sends you into a tailspin: Perhaps it bothers you because it makes you feel out of the loop and underappreciated. Whatever the case may be, understanding your own triggers can help you to break disruptive patterns and stay sharp amidst the ups and downs of organizational change.
Build a Support System
Rather than bearing the weight of the world—or, more specifically, the weight of the organization or department—on your shoulders alone, work with a group of friends and trusted coworkers to balance it all. This group can help you to identify and work through your triggers, help oversee tasks when you’re too busy or unavailable, and help you adapt when your plans hit a bump in the road.
You may be the one responsible for leading organizational change, but it involves a large cohort of stakeholders including employees, your organization’s executive leadership, clients, suppliers, and others. Work with these constituencies to gauge how they view changes and invite them to give feedback on your performance and the effectiveness of the changes. These responses are a tremendous asset that can help you to keep perspective and further optimize the enterprise transformation.