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Does your commitment to change match what you've communicated?

Achieving step-change in your team's performance and maximising the opportunity it presents takes leadership commitment. But as this example shows, actions speak louder than words.

A friend of mine, Anita, is a strategic program manager. She recently left an organisation that was facing something I call The Moment. In other words, it had reached a turning-point that meant the leadership team needed to adjust its course and adapt to new circumstances.

Within the department, the desire for change had already been communicated by the leadership team, with considerable fanfare. The message was clear - the organisation was facing the 'opportunity of a generation' and it fully intended to make the most of it.

The leadership team brought Anita in to help them define the opportunity and work out where to take the organisation next. She spent months aligning the stakeholders, working out what needed to happen and pulling together a detailed plan. She proudly took her finished work to the transformation steering committee but was perplexed by the apparent lack of enthusiasm she received.

Half way through the meeting, the reason for this became apparent.

The chair of the committee leaned over to her and said "Anita, there is something you need to understand. All we need to do here is give the perception of change".

As leaders, many of us recognise we need to commit to making change if we want to capture the full potential of the opportunity. However, saying we're committed, is not the same as being committed. In fact, when our behaviours don't reinforce the message, it has a more negative impact on our teams than if we'd said we weren't committed in the first place. After all, if we clearly say that something is not a priority, at least everyone knows where they stand. Consequently, our people don't waste their time doing work that, in the scheme of things, isn't really important. And, we don't lose their trust (because we've broken the critical connection between what we say and what we do).

Take a moment

Reflect on your own leadership or that of your leadership team. Are your actions reflecting the messages your communicating? Are you truly committed to creating tangible change or is more about 'the perception of change'? How might your approach be impacting change success in your team, or your organisation?

I'll look forward to hearing your thoughts and experiences. Thank you for reading and please remember to share this article with others who may find it valuable.


Kate Christiansen is a facilitator, mentor, award-winning author and keynote speaker. She works with leadership teams who have reached an inflection point and need to set a new direction. Kate helps her clients to understand their unique moment of opportunity, define the new path that will create maximum value, then spark positive change, that's powered by the passion of people.


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