Thursday, May 17, 2012

Making Change Stick

 Recently I had a chance to do a half-day workshop on “Making Change Stick” for a group of nonprofit executives at a conference sponsored by NeighborWorks America.  Here’s one of main take-aways that may help you when you are in the process of leading a change.

These particular nonprofit leaders have been working on various improvements in their organizations for the past year – and they have made some successful changes.  I got to be the wet blanket.  I told them that making the initial changes was just the beginning of the work and that they had to be sure not to make a classic “leading change” error:  “celebrating success too soon.”

I asked them “Of the people involved with the change you are leading, what percentage of them fall into these categories?:”

*Enthusiastic – guiding coalition; cheerleaders

*Supportive – would speak on behalf of the change, if asked

*Accepting – passive acceptance

*Resistant – active or passive aggressive

Think about this for a change you are leading.  I suggest that, in order for your change to “stick,” you need at least 50% of your people in the top two categories.  And actually, you need as many people as possible in those top two groups to be really confident that your change is going to “stick.”

The work of leading a change isn’t done until it’s embedded deeply into the culture.  Until people have the attitude of “That’s just the way we do things around here” then there is work to be done.  Good luck leading change as you seek to make even more of a Mission Impact.

For more ideas on how you can lead breakthroughs in your organization, follow this blog and check out my web site at   You will find free resources you can download, including a Breakthrough Strategy Workbook that you can download at no cost.  You can also check out my book, Mission Impact:  Breakthrough Strategies for Nonprofits, and buy it if you are interested.  And you can follow Sheehan Nonprofit Consulting on Facebook.

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