How to Lead Your Team Successfully Through Change

Did you know that in business, 84% of change initiatives fail? That is a high failure rate. Change can be a stressful process for many employees, can hurt morale, and impact productivity negatively – IF it isn’t done right! Let us help you lead your team successfully through change!


Change is happening all the time, especially in business. There are new social media platforms, new rules for those platforms, new competitors, new markets, globalization, new software, new policies and procedures, and myriad other changes happening all the time.

Your team needs your leadership most during these changing times. Said differently, your company will FAIL at change if you don’t lead them properly though it. Here are 5 strategies to help you lead successfully through change.

#1 Measure employee engagement & motivation

This must happen before the change, during the process, and after the change is in place. You can do this easily (and for free) using Google forms, Survey Monkey, or another online survey tool. Or, you can do it the old fashioned way, and hand out paper to your staff.

Either way, ask them how happy, engaged and motivated they are (before, during and after the change).

#2 Deploy effective leaders

Pay attention to the individual leaders on your change team. These leaders need to have strong relationships with the people they are leading and be committed to being effective leaders who are bought into the vision and the change! The leaders who are helping you lead teams through change must be capable of compelling the team to follow them through change and achieve the desired outcomes.

We must assess these leaders on their relationships with their reports, as well as their effectiveness. If your change leaders are not willing or able to be effective leaders, they must be replaced as a change leader. Change does not happen successfully without effective leadership. 

#3 Plan out the Change

This sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? You would be surprised how many leaders just CHANGE something and hope for the best. It’s crazy!

This functionally looks like detailed planning of scenarios, detailed planning of schedules, identifying all of the “what if this happens” situations, and planning with risk mitigation strategies.

A great example of this would be changing a schedule from five days per week to four. You should actually run through at least a week of what regularly takes place and how it would work with the new schedule. You should try to think of every scenario that could happen, and what you would do about it. You should try to anticipate what could be confusing, and have answers for it. You must think of all the important people involved, not just your team; clients, partners, strategic alliances and others can all be affected by your change. Think it through, and include any important stakeholders in your consideration.

You’ve heard this quote from Benjamin Franklin a million times before, but it is SO TRUE so I’ll say it again: if you fail to plan, you plan to fail!

successfully lead your team through change

#4 Establish a Clear and Compelling Vision

The word “compelling” is so perfect for this topic. Your team must be COMPELLED by the vision of the outcome the change is designed to achieve! The vision must excite them and pull them towards it! Ensure your team:

  1. knows the vision
  2. feels that it is possible
  3. feels COMPELLED to achieve it

If you’re the only one excited about the desired outcome, you’re in big trouble!

#5 Create a Sense of Urgency to lead your team successfully through change

Light a fire under their butts! Don’t scare or threaten your team, but you do need to let them know why the change is important, and what will happen if the plan doesn’t work out.

Remember, change is happening all around you. The most successful leaders are successfully leading their team through change by being intentional with their team, sharing a compelling vision, and not allowing change to just “happen to them”.

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Kelli-Rae Tamaki

Kelli-Rae is truly passionate about successful business, and believes it can always be better, which is why she has spent 22 years studying, running, coaching and consulting with businesses, just like yours.
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