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Authority Alone Isn’t Enough: A Hybrid Approach to Transformation

They say transformation is hard. We say not for everyone all the time.


In business, the status quo dictates that transformation equals pain, from a lack of clarity and communication to the threat of strategic misalignment and disruption of critical operations. All too often it’s an exercise in surviving, not thriving. Most leaders default to authority as the only way to push through the pain. It’s the most natural approach for leaders, but authority alone may not be enough.


We find that seeking enrollment while leveraging authority is not only possible, but a more effective way to achieve real widespread adoption of the transformation. Let’s break this down”


Leading with Authority

When a company leads with authority during a transformation, it typically means that senior leadership or a designated authority figure takes a top-down approach to implement changes.

In a crisis situation or when the transformation requires strict adherence to specific guidelines and processes, an authoritative approach can help to:


  • Maintain consistency and ensure everyone is on the same page;

  • Streamlining processes and providing quicker decision-making; and

  • Mitigate conflict and risks.


But authority alone leads to:


  • Needless leadership challenges;

  • Resistance to change;

  • A lack of ownership of the transformation; and

  • A decline in overall productivity.


Seeing Enrollment & The Hybrid Approach

Enrollment involves actively involving employees and stakeholders in the transformation process, seeking their input, and encouraging their commitment to the changes. This approach reduces resistance to change and when combined with authority, has proven to:


  • Increase confidence in leadership;

  • Enhance problem identification;

  • Accelerate adoption; and

  • And inspire a level of conviction that transcends mere consensus.


The hybrid approach is particularly valuable in complex, long-term transformations or when a creative and adaptable approach is necessary. Companies that embrace the hybrid approach, recognize that some aspects of the transformation may require clear direction and authority, while others benefit from employee involvement and commitment.


Transformation isn’t a campaign but a way of behaving that reinforces the business’ values and aligns with its goals and objectives. Choosing authority and enrollment isn’t some altruistic notion but an essential balance. It’s a process in identifying these behaviors and the systems that sustain them to achieve long-term, lasting adoption.


If you’re thinking about change management but not considering enrollment, you’re selling your business short in the moments that really count.


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