In Parts III, and III of our series on successfully managing change, we identified why an aligned coalition of leaders is the first step in achieving success; why these leaders must design and implement a plan to guide their efforts; and how to overcome the types of resistance to change that hinder the majority of change initiatives.

When everyone is enrolled in managing change, a breakthrough in thinking is achieved — and it is essential that your change initiative be organized around breakthrough thinking and results.

Imagining Uncharted Realities

To achieve a breakthrough — in thinking and of results — teams and executives who are managing change must be willing to reconsider current and projected realities. Why? By definition, a breakthrough goal represents the accomplishment of something unprecedented or seemingly impossible, and must:

• Be specific and measurable
• Be unprecedented, given historical trends and current resources
• Require a fundamental shift in approach
• Require a commitment to accomplishing it
• Be realized without sacrificing current quality, integrity, or well-being
• Generate a sustainable level of performance

However, how do you get people thinking in terms of a breakthrough? Again, it all comes down to enrollment and hands-on engagement.

Breaking Through

To understand a concrete example of how one particular company unlocked breakthrough thinking, consider the case of another major food and beverage company that had enjoyed years of growth and success but was now facing a crisis with a dwindling pipeline of new products.

After participating in a custom designed, two-day breakthrough thinking session, close to 1000 employees in all facets of the business applied breakthrough thinking to each of their accountable areas. The company not only created value by way of new product releases, but also witnessed an increase in stock price by 50 percent.

When employees are enrolled and able to apply breakthrough thinking to the solutions of managing change, they can transition into actively managing and engaging the network of constituencies touched by the change. We’ll explore this in our final installment: Managing Change 101: Part V — Engaging Constituencies.

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