Maybe this scenario sounds familiar: you’ve just finished an amazing management book or heard a compelling speaker at a conference, and you get a profound insight. You want to implement the ideas you just heard into your company…immediately!

You may already be on Amazon ordering copies for everyone on your leadership team. 😊

The reality is, endorsing or sharing these ideas may not be enough.

The real challenge in leading an organization lies in turning innovative ideas into tangible actions that change behaviors and drive organizational success.

Telling isn’t training, and training isn’t transformation.

You can’t just tell people an idea and expect them to actually absorb it.

Even once they’ve learned it, you can’t expect them to organically transform what they learned into new behaviors.

They need some help to get there.

So, what does it take to go from the book you read on the plane to having your team embrace and embody new principles?

Here are a few tips that can make the change management process a little smoother – and more effective:

  • Establish new standards of behaviour
  • Invest in learning and development
  • Customize ideas for your organization

Let’s take a closer look at each of these concepts and how they support positive organizational change.

Establish a New Standard of Behaviour

You can’t hold people accountable to a behaviour standard you haven’t set.

So, the first step in instituting organizational change is to establish a new standard of behavior. This standard should be deeply embedded in the company’s core values, strategy artifacts, behavioral standards, and performance management processes.

Senior leadership involvement and sponsorship are critical for the success of any change initiative.

Leaders must lead by example and actively support the adoption of new principles throughout the organization.

So, this is the group you need to win over first – their buy-in and ability to model the change you want to see are essential.

But it’s also important to approach the process collaboratively, involving the entire team instead of dictating from the top down.

For example – if you’re inspired by the leadership principles outlined in Jim Collins’ Good to Great, engage your team in discussions about how these principles apply to your organization.

Together, identify behaviors or ideas that resonate with your team’s values and goals. And once established, make sure these ideas are integrated into various aspects of the organization, from performance management programs to core values statements.

Weave it into day-to-day huddles, connection before content moments, and openings of meetings. This moves it beyond the “poster on the wall” to something that is living and breathing.

In addition, leaders should actively promote these principles through storytelling and recognition. By catching people doing things right and highlighting their efforts, you can reinforce desired behaviors and make them part of your organization’s culture.

In other words, reward the behaviors you’d like to see more of.

Invest in Leadership Development

Development plays a crucial role in grounding employees in new principles and behaviors.

Consider investing in a leadership development program that is anchored in the core ideas you want to instill.

Keep in mind that an entertaining speaker isn’t the same as a good teacher. Learning sessions should be designed with high impact in mind. For example, instead of lengthy lectures, you can incorporate interactive elements – like case studies, role-playing or small-group discussions – throughout to keep everyone engaged and to accommodate multiple learning styles.

This kind of leadership program isn’t a quick fix. Instead, it should be a comprehensive journey spread over several months. Structured sessions, coupled with reflection activities, sustainment efforts, and coaching or mentoring opportunities, can help your leadership team truly absorb and accept new behaviors.

Customize Ideas for Your Organization

While it’s tempting to adopt ready-made approaches from management books or consultants, it’s absolutely essential to customize these ideas to fit your organization’s unique DNA.

Instead of just following someone else’s model, extract the principles that resonate with your team and craft your own approach.

Then, to maintain consistency and avoid confusion, update your people processes to align with the new expectations.

For example, if your focus is on implementing Objectives and Key Results (OKRs), make sure your performance management systems reflect this approach and use the same language.

That way, any newly adopted practices will truly reflect your organization’s values and norms – becoming “the way things are done around here.”

And once you’ve selected your approach, stick with it.

Frequent changes in language and behavior expectations can lead to confusion and disengagement among your team.

Ready to turn your ideas into actionable strategies?

At Cinga, we have a solid track record of helping organizations implement the strategies we shared above.

Our “Let’s move fast, fix things and make sure it sticks” approach bridges the gap between inspiration and creating lasting change.

If you’re ready to not just embrace new ideas, but to embed them into the fabric of your organization, we’d love to help.