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Leading change

However successful a team is, there is always room for improvement.

The Director encourages the team constantly to make those small day-to-day improvements that make life better for customers, colleagues and stakeholders. A systematic constant improvement process like the 3D cycle means small scale changes can be made easily and rolled out further if they improve matters, or reversed if the data shows no useful benefit.

Leading larger change programmes requires more political and project management skills from the Director. Change programmes often falter at an early stage because influential people have not bought in to the changes or committed sufficient resources. (See our development exercise "How to influence stakeholders" for a step-by-step guide on how to approach this.)

The skilful Director will put together a committed leadership group early on with the enough authority and influence to resolve the resource or inter-department difficulties that inevitably arise.

But perhaps the most important skill of the Director is to convince people to support the change programme. Faced with attitudes ranging from outright resistance to change to enthusiasm, the Director will need to be an expert communicator. Our development exercise "Building commitment to change" will help you get this right.

From awareness-building to publicizing successes and promoting change champions, the Director will rely heavily on a reputation for managing performance to unleash people’s enthusiasm for change.