Helen Green

Changing Hearts and Minds

We talk about the difference between leadership and management, about leadership being a game of hearts and minds in which you engender enthusiasms and carry your people with you. But what happens when the business strategy evolves, how do you help people to move from an established course and to embrace change.

At heart, people are traditionalists and the thought of change can throw up all sorts of objections. Take the case of Cadbury which has recently hit headlines thanks to its announcement that it intends to add sultanas to its fruit and nut bars. Although in taste tests only 10% of people could even tell the difference, public reaction to the announcement has led to headlines across the media.

When the change is external, a successful introduction is partly down to the interaction which an organisation has with its customers. When a change is internal then success rests on leadership, communication and engagement. If the leadership team is trusted, they have a far higher chance of successfully introducing change. If the leadership team take the time to communicate, to explain, to build understanding and to help people to engage with the new strategy, then not only is the change more likely to be accepted but also the relationship between the leadership team and employees can be strengthened.

When you dictate to people, you get process followers. When you engage hearts and minds, your people become ambassadors for the organisation and its product.