Merge's Blog

Leading change strategy #9: Be transparent

My last two tips on leading change in organizations focused on communication (tell people why and feed the grapevine).  In today’s video in this series, I am switching focus slightly.

Be transparent

Transparency is key when leading change.  Be open and honest about difficulties, challenges and concerns with the “new order”.  Every change initiative comes with its own set of problems, many of which are expected or can be anticipated.  Don’t sugar-coat or attempt to hide them.  Be transparent about the potential challenges that may be experienced as a result of the changes.  Your focus instead should be on looking jointly for solutions to address them.  Do not try to minimize the challenges, or even worse, pretend they do not exist. You’re fooling no one, and all that you’re doing is jeopardizing your credibility.

In fact, by stating the challenges and concerns before your employees do, you are accomplishing three major benefits.

  1. You’re demonstrating that you get it, that you understand your employees’ reality
  2. You’re establishing that your intention is to work openly and honestly with your team in implementing changes
  3. You’re making it evident that your purpose is to make the working environment and the outcomes of the change as positive as possible.

Leading change effectively is premised on a foundation of transparency.  And it’s up to you as a leader to set the tone and create a positive environment that fosters this behaviour.

So I repeatedly hear about change initiatives that operate under a shroud of secrecy, the exact opposite of what I am recommending.  What has been your experience?  I would love to hear your perspective, please share by commenting below.

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