Leadership accountability is integral for success.

A number of years ago I was involved in an organization-wide transformation project that included a total reorganization, job role changes, new processes and the introduction of new technology. Me and my change management team naively assumed that all senior leaders would be automatically on board because; they initiated the transformation project, it would add value to our customer service and save us a lot of money over time without job loss.

We assumed that the leadership who were integral to our success, would be aligned with achieving these transformation goals. This was not the case. In hindsight, it was clear that many of our senior leaders were threatened by the new direction and were ill-equipped to lead the transformation. I learned that its not just employees who need to know “What’s in it for me” (WIIFM) – leaders need that too!

Leadership alignment

Checking for leadership alignment, commitment and accountability to change is integral for success. The purpose of the leadership alignment exercise I use is to ensure that the leaders are engaged, know what’s in it for them and have the support and tools to lead the charge for change. Checking for leadership alignment gets the organization to identify and plan the steps needed to achieve and sustain the necessary level of support, leader by leader. The outcomes of this approach are:

  • Senior leaders and the project leadership team are aware of areas of alignment and mis-alignment with respect to the project, by conducting structured interviews with each of the executives.
  • The executive is engaged in defining its leadership role with respect to the project and is now confident to lead.
  • The executive is playing an active role in leading change related to the project.
  • Employees hear consistent and strong messages from leadership about the transformation and what everyone’s role is in achieving success.

Are you about to launch a significant change in your organization? If so, don’t assume that your leadership team has what it takes to be fully aligned and committed to leading with you. Think about conducting a leadership alignment exercise so that you can pin point what is required in terms of awareness, desire and capacity to achieve and sustain the necessary level of support, leader by leader. Interested in learning more?

Alexandra Salamis

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