Be the change you wish to see and find your allies


„People don’t resist change. They resist being changed!” -Peter Senge

If you want to change people, the first thing you must change is yourself

Let’s make something clear: You as a leader can’t change people. People have to change themselves. If you want to change people, the first thing you must change is yourself. Only then can you start the process of making people follow you.

But how?

First, you have to understand and trust your team, your people. You have to be connected to them. If you would like to change an organization that is built by individuals, the first thing you have to do is get close to those individuals. As a leader, you have to put yourself into your people’s shoes. You have to get as close as possible, so you can feel and experience their daily routine. Whether you work in an agile or in a more traditional culture, this applies to everyone.


Who should know those individuals, know their problems, challenges, and inspirations better than their leader?


Connection, being in a growing relationship, putting yourself into other people’s shoes, is the first prerequisite as you begin to change people. If you have this sense of reality in place, then you can change yourself and grow to become a credible leader.

That connectedness combined with your credibility will cause people to follow you.

It’s always good if you don’t have to walk alone, and the good news is that you may already have a strong coalition built from other leaders and external consultants. Other leaders can support you with their votes, resources, practices, ideas, etc, and experienced external consultants can bring you the important outside perspective plus the expertise and tools you need to drive this change on an organizational scale.


But in best possible scenario, your most natural ally in this change will be your HR

HR plays the trustbuilder, the supporting role in the organization. As someone who understands strategy and business, HR should also play the role of a liaison, having the opportunity to help connect the different hierarchical and functional players to foster cross-divisional and cross-functional collaboration.

This allows your team to reach the goal together, and help each other succeed.

But the problem often starts right where the opportunity lies. It’s often a challenge to bring leaders and HR cooperation to a new level. Often the goals, the scope, the language, and the approach of the two groups are completely different and hard to align.

And again, just as we said before, nobody can change you if you do not want to change yourself. Leaders and HR have to start with themselves. They have to change themselves first, and they have to work together in order to build that winning coalition.


„How can that winning coalition build mutual practice between leaders and HR professionals?”


What direction should leaders and HR change in order to drive business success together?


Let’s consider four examples of many possible fields of the Leader–HR collaboration

1. Consciously create a more changed and structured management

Change starts with change management. Having a well thought out system leads to better implementation results, through which you can celebrate better business outcomes. In more and more organizations (75% based on Prosci study, 2018), change management and project management are working in tandem. The same source reports a 6% increase in the number of permanent change management jobs since 2011. This approach, or e.g. an agile transformation requires a significant amount of change in organizational routines, where leaders and HR can set the path.

2. The continual advanced and smooth integration of newcomers

Effective integration depends on the effective collaboration of leaders and HR. This collaboration effects not just the retention rate of the newcomers but also their peers’ (SME’s, SPOC’s).

3. Company values play a central role, and are used as a reference point

While everything else is rapidly changing, values are the standards that guide the way you do business. Most companies do not take advantage of this great resource, causing the majority of their organization to continue without any knowledge of their values. Leaders and HR must collaborate and give feedback to each other, outlining how to bring those values to life in their own daily routines. In doing so, those values can serve as a mirror for all behaviors and activities. This way, values can be used as a power plant and stronghold for the organization.

4. Show the best example of a trusted and transparent relationship

Leaders and HR can build a well functioning feedback culture that drives open communication and creates a flowing infostream.


If people in the organization see their leaders and their HR as ready and willing to change, this will spur new competitive advantages throughout the entire organization.


This post originally appeared as Viktor Lenartson’s LinkedIn article.