What can Organizations learn from Change Management in the Political Sphere?

On a cold February day in Springfield, Illinois, three years ago, a young US senator announced he was going to run for the presidency. The country and the world faced huge challenges, he said. “We know the challenges...We’ve talked about them for years…What’s stopped us from meeting these challenges is not the absence of sound policies and sensible plans. What’s stopped us is the failure of leadership”. Now that he is president, Barack Obama knows how difficult it is to bring about successful change.

The same could be said of Nicolas Sarkozy, the hyper-active French President, who has so far proved largely unable to deliver on his electoral promises of thorough socio-economic reforms.

Why is that? For a variety of reasons. Implementing change requires strong leadership but also excellent management skills - even though management skills can be learned, mastering leadership is less straight forward.

I would argue that there are 5 key ways for an elected leader to be a successful manager in implementing change:

  1. You must be trustworthy. Different constituents and individuals require different approaches. Before you can enact any change you must ensure that all parties understand you have their interests at heart.
  2. You have to be able to communicate a vision of where your country or organization needs to go. Having the vision is the easy part, clearly defining this vision into practical steps is where the real work begins.
  3. You must diagnose, anticipate and address your people’s natural resistances to change.
  4. You must continuously persuade them that change will be beneficial to all in the long term, if not now, and on your way to your final destination celebrate successes at every step.
  5. You must master the magic triangle of “people, processes and power”, and communicate all the way through to get people around you to embrace and support your ideas.

This article was written by Christophe de Callatay from the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC).

BlueStepsis the exclusive service of the AESC that puts senior executives on the radar screen of over 6,000 executive search professionals in over 70 countries. Be visible, and be considered for up to 50,000 opportunities handled by AESC search firms every year. Find out more at www.BlueSteps.com.

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