January 2014 | Management
Nano Tools for Leaders® are fast, effective leadership tools that you can learn and start using in less than 15 minutes — with the potential to significantly impact your success as a leader and the engagement and productivity of the people you lead.
Contributor: Greg Shea, Adjunct Professor of Management, Faculty Associate, Center for Leadership and Change Management, The Wharton School; and Cassie Solomon, president and founder of The New Group Consulting, Inc.
Ensure your next change initiative is a success by adapting your work environment to support it.
Real change is hard to come by. Studies consistently show that more than half of all change initiatives end in failure. Many of those initiatives rely heavily, even overwhelmingly on leadership skills such as walking the talk and careful communication plans. Yet such an approach by itself often falls short. Success is more likely if leaders take the time to lead change by carefully identifying the new behaviors that change will require from people and then designing the work environment to encourage and reinforce exactly those behaviors. The Visionary Leadership Nano Tool showed you how to identify the end-point behaviors that are the mark a successful transformation. Now, we turn to the work environment — how can you redesign it to make those ideal behaviors and actions more likely to occur?
The work system as a whole is composed of eight environmental aspects, each of which can become a powerful lever for change. Pull enough of these levers, and people will respond to the new set of circumstances by engaging in the behavior that’s easiest within the new environment. In our experience, that means significantly altering at least four of these eight work system attributes:
By using at least four of the following steps, you can create a workplace environment that is far likelier to support a successful change initiative because it draws on our strength as a species to adapt to environmental change.
Nano Tools for Leaders® was conceived and developed by Deb Giffen, MCC, Director of Innovative Learning Solutions at Wharton Executive Education. It is jointly sponsored by Wharton Executive Education and Wharton’s Center for Leadership and Change Management, Wharton Professor of Management Michael Useem, Director. Nano Tools’ Academic Director is John Paul MacDuffie, Wharton Associate Professor of Management, and Director of the Program on Vehicle and Mobility Innovation (PVMI) at Wharton’s Mack Institute for Innovation Management.
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