The four lenses of change

Leading through change. It’s something all leaders and managers have to do. And yet navigating their team effectively through change and uncertainty continues to be one of the most challenging aspects of their jobs. Your ability to effectively lead your team through change can make or break you, as a leader. Luckily, there are some great management tools available to help you effectively tackle leading your team through change. In this article I outline one of many ways to lead through uncertainty, stay on top of your game and to keep things moving forward in a positive way. It’s about perspective and looking through four different types of ‘lenses’. I find it to be a practical and useful framework that you can readily and easily use throughout the process of leading through change.

We’ve all heard of rose-coloured glasses. This leadership approach requires you to peer, with a more critical eye, through four different ‘lenses’; each with a particular focus; connection, purpose, ‘how to’ and persistence. Chopping and changing the lenses you look through is important in ensuring all bases are covered throughout the process.

1. The lens of Connection

It’s essential that when introducing a change initiative to your team that you establish a connection to the outcome. Are people emotionally connected to the outcome and if not, how can you establish an emotional connection? The key to ensuring your team are emotionally connected is to provide a compellingoutcome, not just an understandable one. In fact, in some instances, a compelling outcome, one which has people truly believing in the cause, is more important than an understandable one. Plans change, but outcomes don’t. Once your team has a clear vision of the outcome, and believes in it, you are well on the way to finding the best steps to move towards it. If your team believes in the outcome, if they remain emotionally connected to it, they will jump whatever hurdle or challenge comes up and adjust their plan to reach it.

2. The lens of Purpose

Keeping your team focussed and on-purpose is important in effective leadership, particularly in group discussions and meetings. As a leader you need to facilitate meetings and ensure everyone remains focussed on the outcome at hand and how to achieve it. Often things get off-track and the discussion goes in a different direction than it ought to. When you are looking through this lens, ask yourself if you are working towards a desired outcome? For all points raised in group discussions, ask yourself if the communication/ discussion/ comment is helpful. Is each comment made meaningful and is it contributing to achieving the outcome? This is the lens you need to continually peer through throughout the process to ensure you and your team stay connected to the outcome without moving off-course.

3. The lens of the “How to”

Looking through this lens is crucial to establish whether you have the combined skills and competencies to reach your goals. Have you effectively established and communicated the next steps required to move towards achieving the outcome. I like to avoid the word ‘plan’ as it insinuates that you are locking in a course of action. The best way to approach the ‘how to’ is to break down the ‘plan’ into small chunks, to adopt an experimental approach to work towards the desired outcome. With this attitude in mind, as you encounter challenges and hurdles along the way, you can reassess your approach and make the necessary changes to stay on track. This approach ensures mistakes are treated as opportunities to learn and grow and people can feel accountable without feeling like they failed. Ensure that you clearly define the steps you need to take and try to involve all team members in the decision-making process when establishing the best steps forward. Set regular meetings to give everyone the time and opportunity to review, reflect and alter the plan to keep moving forward in a positive and engaged way.

4. The lens of the Persistence

 This lens requires you to reflect on whether you have everything you need to have a fighting chance of reaching your goal. Have you got the right resources, the right people, adequate time, money and the equipment you need to reach your desired outcome? Again, you’ll need to look at things through this lens throughout the course of the process and as the course of action changes you may need more of these things to get you there.

Managing your team through change can be overwhelming, but by establishing a way to approach it, and breaking down the way to look at it, you’ll make it more do-able. I encourage you to have a go at trying this useful framework the next time you need to lead your team through change. It’s all about perspective and the way you look at things.

For more tailored guidance on leading through change, contact me for one of my tailored workshops. I can help prepare your leadership team for leading through change better. Please get in touch today. I’d love to help!

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