One issue that comes up everytime we talk about change is the role of leaders. It's critical for leaders to "carry the flag" for change by being active advocates. That's why one best practice is to kick-start leader involvement by holding interactive sessions where leaders receive a deep dive on change to gain clarity about their role.
Recently, a client asked this question: “My company is about to embark on a major change. We would like to get leaders involved, and I think a session would be a great way to do so. I’ve never conducted this type of leader workshop before, so I wanted to know what it it entails.”
I replied that it’s a little difficult to give general advice because a workshop should, first and foremost, be designed to meet specific objectives for what you need leaders to know, believe and do. Setting those objectives should be your first step.
Then I provided a few tips on holding a leader change session, which I thought would be helpful to share with you as well:
- Gain a deep understanding of leaders' needs—by conducting interviews or focus groups—then make sure the workshop meets those needs.
- Get the endorsement of the CEO or another senior leader for the workshop—and make sure that senior leader invites participants to attend, so they'll know that the session has the support of the boss.
- Make the session as interactive as possible. The more leaders participate, the more engaged they will be, and the more they'll learn.
- Choose the best facilitators for your company/culture. In some cases, external facilitators work best (because they lend credibility), but in other circumstances, internal staff members like HR managers are more effective (because they're "one of us.").
- Consider providing tools, such as talking points, FAQs, a short PPT, for leaders to use afterwards.
Hope this is useful. If you have other questions about engaging leaders in change, or any other aspect of change communication, just let me know. Thanks.