Knowledge Center

What Leaders Must Do to Drive Business – Critical Change

By Tim Deuitch

Business is in a constant state of change. In this video, Tim Deuitch, Andrea McOwen, and Joane Ramsey discuss the four components that leaders must address when challenged with implementing strategic changes within an organization.

Tim Deuitch: 00:01 We know we work with so many companies that this is a time of great change. Change is a constant. So, what happened? A few years ago and not too long ago, companies that needed to really make business critical change brought in change agents.

Andrea McOwen: 00:27 That's true.

Tim Deuitch: 00:28 They were people that knew how to make change. They made the hard decisions, then they left, and there were the leaders to move it forward. Not so today. Leaders we know are responsible for both leading and managing well, and making business critical innovations and change, and this is really challenging to them. We know that in our work there are four basic components that leaders must do in order to drive the innovation that's required to change. They are Communication, Reduce Barriers, Prioritize, and Invest in the Innovation. All four critical. So, let's talk about them.

Joane Ramsey: 01:15 I think Communication being the first one, it's a critical component of what leaders need to do in terms of approaching their people. The communication needs not to be coming from the marketing department, but rather coming directly from the leaders. Be clear, be constant. Even when things are not happening, they should be communicated so we can avoid the water cooler, grape vine going around, and people wondering what's taking place.

Andrea McOwen: 01:57 One of the other really important things is Removal of Barriers. As the leader, you need to be anticipating what those barriers are and you need to be prepared for them. You also need to be prepared for the fact that there's going to be barriers you didn't plan on. People are going to be looking to you as the leader to address those barriers and to address them quickly. When you're trying to do something like organizational change, if one barrier falls into place and it isn't immediately addressed, it's like a wheel falling off the cart and everything else starts to fall apart. So, people are going to be looking to you, the leader, to be addressing those barriers and cleaning them up very quickly.

Tim Deuitch: 02:25 Very true, and what's important about that is reducing barriers is an action. Communication is critical, because we know everyone needs to know why and how that aligns with the direction of the company. Get that clear, but reducing barriers are the actions that demonstrate that you're serious about this, you really are.

The third one is Prioritization. This is a case where we've seen it sort of not go well. It is when the leader is supportive of reprioritizing things that move lower down the list. Maybe some money is not spent on a particular project because this business critical innovation is critical. It's critical. Where we've seen them make the mistake is when they say, "Okay, you guys decide how you want to reprioritize." It's not going to work. It doesn't work, and the biggest piece about that is, by the leader taking part in the reprioritization and publicly blessing it, they are taking ownership for the shifts and the changes needed to be able to implement this innovation.

Andrea McOwen: 03:36 The fourth one seems really obvious and you'd think that would be the first thing that people would think about, but it's also the one that usually, a lot of times, gets in the way, and that's Investment. Planning for the investment that this entire change is going to take, even thinking about hidden costs, things that you think will be there, but haven't really come to the surface yet. Planning for the unexpected and having a contingency plan if your budget changes a little bit, and being able to address that immediately. The last thing I think you want to do is say to the organization, "This is really important and we're going to do all of these things and here's why," and then have it fall apart because of investment.

Joane Ramsey: 04:13 Isn't that so true? How many times working with clients have we seen where the leaders get so excited about the change that is coming and there's a lot of energy around it. Then when it comes time to invest, some of the things are overlooked. It sends the wrong message if the investment is not behind what they are saying and communicating that it is important to the organization.

Tim Deuitch: 04:38 Inside that investment is that critical must do, the contingency plan. It keeps this innovation from sort of halting and being stunted. So, there they are, four critical cornerstone components of being able to lead business critical change.

Here is what is important about the four of them. They all need to be implemented with equal strength from the leaders. Leaders cannot shirk one of them or delegate it too far down the chain. In fact, where we've seen it not happen or where the innovation hasn't gone well, it's because we've been able to identify, "Oops, one of those things," the leaders didn't take full enough ownership of the Communication, Reduction of Barriers, Prioritization, and Investment in the Initiative. When you can do all four, your employees are inspired, they have the resources they need, and you have the best chances of success.

Published: September 30, 2019

Is it difficult for you to make business critical innovations and change?

We help leaders drive the innovation that's required to change.

Contact Us


Tim Deuitch

Senior Performance Consultant

Tim brings over 25 years of experience working closely with business leaders throughout the Twin Cities and the USA. He has worked within a multitude of workplace cultures and economic cycles, helping leaders and teams improve their effectiveness and results. Since joining SEG in 2007, Tim has continued his work as a change agent, helping organizations meet their goals. Tim graduated from Warren Wilson College in 1983 with a B.S. degree in social work.

Recent Posts

Monthly Tips and Insights to Help Develop Your Best Sales Talent

Join over 1,100 professionals for the Strategic Insights Newsletter
Copyright Strategic Enhancement Group 2006-2023 All Rights Reserved
Site by Neuvocreate