Success in achieving sustainable change outcomes is almost guaranteed when there is seamless integration between leadership, strategy and change

With globalisation and mergers an everyday reality in the modern business environment, this requires that organisations change the way they are run and how they work.

Linda Mvanana, Head of Business Consulting at Nkululeko Leadership Consulting, believes that while change has become a constant in the world, many organisations are not adequately equipped with the skills necessary to respond to change or proactively initiate the change required to stay ahead.

In addition, she says attempts to manage organisational change is often left to middle managers with no visible executive leadership and no strong link to strategy and organisational goals.

“Every organisation worldwide is affected by economic, environmental, legal, political, social and technical factors in the external environment. Case in point is the recently proposed takeover of SABMiller by Anheuser Busch InBev (ABI).

“This change will undoubtedly bring about a huge clash of corporate cultures and will require leaders with well-developed change leadership and change management capabilities to lead and embed new ways of working,” she comments.

When it comes to change management versus change leadership Mvanana explains that while change management refers to the process, tools and techniques necessary to manage the people-side of change, to achieve the required change outcome(s) effective change leadership, which is the responsibility of leaders, is required.

“Authentic, wise leadership and engaged people are critical ingredients in ensuring effective change that achieves the desired outcomes. Authenticity in a leader generates trust in others and enables the leader to guide others effectively through change and transition.

“To effectively lead change in today’s fast changing world leaders need change agility. They need to clearly articulate the direction, purpose and intended outcome of the change as well as motivate, equip and support individuals and teams to move towards the direction of the change. Furthermore, leaders must be congruent and model behaviours that are required to achieve organisational changes,” she adds.
Also important for Mvanana is leaders being aware of people’s typical responses to change and being able to appropriately deal with these.

“Research indicates that only 30% of change programmes succeed with people related issues cited as the factor most contributing to failure.

“This is clear evidence of the fact that organisations only change when people do. And because a mind-set change is required for any change to achieve its goals, effective change management enables organisations to proactively identify and mitigate people related risks,” she says.

For Mvanana, effective change management supports people through change to get commitment and buy-in to sustain the necessary changes, and optimally contribute towards high performance or the bottom line.

“What is required here is a structured but flexible way of managing change, as it is essential that organisations assist people transition from the undesired current state to the desired end state. And while there are many models for change, organisations should adopt relevant models that facilitate individual change and bring about sustainable change,” she emphasises.

In addition to the change brought about by mergers and acquisitions, Mvanana says the reality of constant economic, environmental, legal, political, social and technical change demands that organisations constantly re-invent themselves to retain their competitive edge and realise their strategic objectives.

“It is the role of leadership to define strategy and create a desirable and sustainable future by getting results through others.

“And success in achieving sustainable change from the investments organisations make, is almost guaranteed when there is seamless integration between leadership, strategy and change,” she concludes.