How to Successfully Navigate through Change


Hiring guides is common for travelling to navigate attractions.

Hiring guides is common practice for travelling into unknown countries to navigate well known tourist attractions, but how many organizations or even individuals consider employing a guide to navigate them through a significant change?

What would happen if instead of attempting to direct all the activity associated with a major change initiative such as lean thinking to creating a culture of high performance, leadership would reach out of their comfort zones and ask for some guidance to navigate through this seas of change? Would the results be better, be more sustainable and actually create less pushback from other team members?

The reason I am asking this question is because of some concerning research regarding execution that being the actions to achieve change. Back in April of this year, BTS shared a survey of over 200 global executives, senior leaders and managers. What this research revealed was CEO’s overestimate their company’s ability to execute strategy.

This leadership research reaffirmed early research from the Conference Board in 2009 respective to the number one challenge experienced by 444 executives in Asia, Europe and the US:

• Number one concern was excellence in execution
• Number two concern was consistent execution of strategy by top management
• Both concerns topped the 2008 annual survey

Top leadership is truly not concerned about minor, day to day execution. Their concern is specific to directing actions (executing) new strategies that will propel the organization ahead of the flow and hopefully ahead of their competitors. As in the case of the past financial meltdown that negatively impacted many organizations worldwide, excellence in execution was just to keep a firm from closing doors, staying in the flow.

Given the majority of businesses at least here in the US are fewer than 100 employees (99.6%), these CEOs are very busy handling the day to day operations. Directing a significant change initiative is difficult at best. This is why hiring a guide  to navigate the change is just common sense.

Years ago I was introduced to this word, heuristic with Greek origins meaning to discover. A heurist was the person who served to discover, to guide or to reveal.

Experienced guides or heurists have the ability to see what the CEOs and others cannot see. They bring a new perspective, a new way of seeing the same landscape. Through their “new eyes” they have the opportunity to reveal what was previously unseen even though it may have existed for decades.

The change process is usually one of challenging the status quo, what has always been and again in many instances never really seen. These unseen barriers can be very costly in working through any change initiative especially one that may be received as a complete culture shock especially when it goes against “we have never done it this way.”

As it has been said, “Change is good, you go first.” To successfully navigate change and optimize the resources necessary to execute change may require hiring a guide who goes first, who understands how change impacts people and more importantly can see what those in leadership role may not have the ability to see.

Leanne Hoagland-Smith

Leanne Hoagland-Smith

Chief Results Officer at ADVANCED SYSTEMS
Discovering & guiding people to be the best for themselves and their organizations is what ignites my passion. With over 30 plus years in corporate sales and having my own 16 years young executive coaching & talent management consulting practice, I truly believe if we stop setting people up to fail we could go even farther and faster than we have to date. This passion extends to helping young people through the Career & College Success Bootcamp. Calls are always appreciated at 219.759.5601 Chicago, USA Central time.
Leanne Hoagland-Smith


THE People & Process Problem Solver| Author|Speaker|Executive Coach 4 #SmallBiz
Stop Sending Prospecting Emails Before Calling - 8 hours ago
Leanne Hoagland-Smith