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4 Leadership tips from Lean Change Management

What if...

  • Your first session with leaders about a new change was a Lean Coffee session instead of a presentation?

  • You replaced your SharePoint site of documentation with a weekly 15-minute standup?

  • You facilitated an exploration session that creates a Change Canvas instead of ‘getting people to fill out the template?’

Those are just a few examples of how Jason Little's Lean Change is different from traditional change methods (there's a great 2 minute video on the home page of the Lean Change website).

Lean Change is accessible and useful for anybody that is curious about or involved in change. Regardless of function or position.

That involvement is true as well for leaders. If you've ever been a (team) leader, check back: did you ever had a 3-6 month period of time after which nothing in your team, its operating process, composition or environment hadn't changed? Having worked with and facilitated Lean Change training sessions since 2017 here are a few leadership tips I've distilled from it.

Tip 1/4

Accept uncertainty and work to reduce it by using iterative approaches: Recognize that change is often unpredictable, and traditional linear planning may not work. Embody this insight by adopting an iterative mindset, where you continually learn and adapt based on feedback. Encourage experimentation and create space for teams to iterate on their ideas.

🙋‍♀️ Involve people in the change process: Change is more likely to succeed when people affected by it are involved from the beginning. Actively seek input and involvement from employees, stakeholders, and those impacted by the change. Foster a culture of open communication and collaboration.

🆓 Actionable tip: Hold regular Lean Coffee sessions and/or canvas workshops to gather insights, ideas, and concerns from employees. Create cross-functional teams to include diverse perspectives and empower them to contribute to the change process.

Tip 2/4

🎛️ Focus on outcomes, not just activities: Instead of solely focusing on following predefined plans, prioritize outcomes and value creation. Encourage teams to identify and measure (the progress towards) the desired outcomes of the change initiative. This helps align and redirect efforts (when needed) and ensures that the change brings tangible benefits.

🆓 Actionable tip: Work with your teams to define clear outcome-based goals for the change initiative. Break them down into smaller, achievable milestones and regularly track progress. Celebrate achievements along the way to maintain motivation.

Tip 3/4

🧠 Provide psychological safety: Create an environment where individuals feel safe to express their thoughts, concerns, and opinions without fear of judgment or retribution. Psychological safety fosters trust, encourages innovation, and enables open dialogue.

🆓 Actionable tip: Encourage open and honest communication by inviting people to conversations instead of just broadcasting communicating to them. Actively listening to your team members. Show empathy and validate their feelings and perspectives. Promote a blame-free culture and address any conflicts or concerns promptly and constructively.

Tip 4/4

♾️ Continuously learn and adapt: Change is a learning process. Encourage a culture of continuous learning and improvement by allowing experimentation. Embrace feedback, both positive and negative, as an opportunity for growth. Adapt your strategies based on new information and insights gained during the change journey.

🆓 Actionable tip: Encourage individuals and teams to reflect on their experiences and share lessons learned. Facilitate knowledge sharing sessions or retrospectives to capture insights and identify areas for improvement. Foster a growth mindset that embraces learning from experimentation – Success and failure!


If this has triggered your curiosity, or you want a chance to practice before applying this in your work environment, you can always register for one of our workshops here.

If you want to have a chat about what Lean Change can mean for you - just pick a slot on our calendar here.

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