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Assess our leadership’s capacity for change

In our busy public service environment it is tempting to delegate a major, complex change to a sub-team or even an outside service provider. Yet, delegated changes have a way of getting off track and mired in deep-seated resistance to the outside agents. Staying involved and ensuring the leadership team remains hands-on, especially when making important decisions affecting people, is key to a successful change initiative.

Often more than one management team is involved in the change and there are significant differences in knowledge and experience in what is required for effective leadership during complex change. For example, there may be differences in understanding the roles of change leaders and the types of mindsets shifts required for successful change. Understanding our leadership’s capacity for leading change helps us better prepare them for the change.

How can we better understand our leadership’s capacity for change?

While there are a variety of ways we can assess our leadership’s capacity to lead change, there are some common themes we want to touch on, including:

  • Level of commitment to the change
  • Mindsets (and how predisposed they are to lead change)
  • Change leadership skills and knowledge
  • Leadership style (and whether they understand the commitment required to lead a change)
  • Level of involvement and capacity for engagement
  • Capacity and skill to deal effectively with political dynamics that may surface throughout this change
  • Comfort in dealing with the people dynamics and issues that the change may trigger
  • Level of flexibility and ability to pivot
  • Level of understanding of departmental history and understanding of past lessons earned on change

For more information on change leadership mindsets and behaviours, see Section 1: Change management and change leadership. To conduct a more in-depth analysis we can use the leadership assessment from Human Systems Dynamics (*Note: it’s necessary to provide an email address to download this tool).

Next steps

Now that we better understand our capacity to lead change and our level of readiness, we can look at our stakeholders in more depth and analyze the impact the change is going to have.

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