LEADERSHIP: Changes for Success

Have you recently made changes to a policy, process, or practice? Did you find it difficult for employees to accept or implement the change? If you would like to improve your chances of success…

First, ensure you have buy-in. Achieving buy-in only results if people have an opportunity to shape the way the change will look when you are done. If you want to improve your chance of success, ask staff for their opinions—before making changes. Then take their recommendations into consideration and incorporate them as part of the change.

Second, allow people to speak up. Often an unwritten current in a workplace is that everyone must conform to the status quo whether they agree with it or not. Amy Edmondson, professor at Harvard Business School and authority on psychological safety, notes the most successful workplaces are those which continuously allow employees to voice their ideas, concerns, and questions. However, this must start at the top and be encouraged as part of the culture—without blame or gossip from coworkers or fear of losing their job from the employer.

Lastly, everyone should learn from mistakes. While some changes are positive and exciting, not all changes are successful on the first try. It’s human nature to be uneasy when we fail, but real change occurs when we are encouraged to both accept and share what we’ve learned from the failure. That way an on-going culture of continuous improvement can be created to improve both personal and business growth.

Successful change is possible when leaders create a workplace when employees are asked for, and can give input, without fear of retribution—even if they disagree with the proposed change. The most successful workplaces are those which encourage trying new changes and then learn from any mistakes.

Susan Hileman, owner of Red Day Communications is a favorite presenter to our Leadership Venango class each year. Learn more about Susan and her business coaching services at

This article was published in the Venango Chamber’s December 2023 VenangoWorks! Newsletter.

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