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Pulling it all together

Dr Julie Hodges summarises key takeways for successful people-centred change - including the adoption of key leadership practices in your approach.
We’ve covered a lot in the three weeks of this MOOC, and I hope it’s given you pause for thought about how you can best bring people along with a change, both in terms of the vision and how things develop in practice. I’d like to take some time now just pull together some of the main points we’ve encountered.
We covered six key leadership practices that help underpin successful change– sense of purpose, sense-building, commitment, sponsorship, collaboration, and energy.
I hope as you’ve gone through the course, you’ve drawn the links between how the adoption of these practices as managers and leaders would impact the level of success on the strategies and activities undertaken throughout the change process. In terms of the key activities and initiatives, let’s take some time to sum up what they should be when leading and managing people-centred change.
Manage stakeholders. As we’ve seen, ensuring the support of key power groups– in other words, stakeholders– and continuing engagement with them is key. Support from those who are in a position to shape opinion is a powerful asset. But conversely, influential detractors can be very harmful. Identifying who your stakeholders are, they’re likely hilltops, and devising a communication plan to engage them effectively is a vital investment of your time.
Focus on emotions. Emotional reactions to change are often viewed as a burden that leaders and managers must endure and, in some instances, even ignore. This is, however, a misguided approach, for emotions are an important part of any change process as they not only show how someone feels about change, but they also have an impact on the behaviour of individuals, which can then affect the success of the change. In order to manage and lead people effectively through change, it is therefore important to have an appreciation of the emotional reactions to change and understand how, in particular, negative emotions can be addressed. Build and maintain trust.
Change has the potential to destroy trust and impact on the psychological contract, which an individual has with their employer. It is vital to build and sustain trust during times of change, because once trust is violated, it is not so easily repaired. Being conscious of the need to approach the process in an ethical way is part of building such trust.
Engagement through dialogue. At the heart of communicating change is dialogue. Creating change using dialogue is about changing the conversations that shape everyday thinking and actions. It’s about creating organisational conversations that lead to understanding and action. A crucial part of this is about being prepared to listen and act upon feedback.
Co-creation. Whenever possible change should be co-created with others. Creating change with people can help engage them in the process of change, so look for opportunities to empower and involve employees.
Taking all these things together I hope will help build your capability to lead and manage people through change.

This video summarises some of the key takeaways from this course – developing emotional intelligence, trust, dialogue and co-creation, underpinned by adopting key leadership practices in your approach.

We hope it will help you with the peer assignment which follows.

Further reading

If you would like to explore leading and managing people-centred change in more depth, you may also like to take a look at the following books.

Hodges, J. (2017). Consultancy, Organizational Development and Change: A Practical Guide to Delivering Value. London: Kogan Page.

Hodges, J. (2016). Managing and Leading People Through Organizational Change: the theory and practice of sustaining change through people. London: Kogan Page.

Hodges, J. (2020) Organization Development: How Organizations Change and Develop Effectively. London: Palgrave McMillan/Red Globe Press.

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Leading and Managing People-Centred Change

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