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Influencing the Future

 In his book Leader’s Tool Kit (AMACOM), Cy Charney advises senior managers to promote continuous innovation and performance improvement. Charney admits that people rarely welcome change but he promises that these strategies will make it easier.

• Take a prominent role. Be seen to be leading the change. Make yourself available to explain new initiatives and be there to celebrate successes.

• Challenge the people around you. Ask everyone to stretch. Set challenging goals with—not for—individuals and teams.

• Create a strong team. It’s lonely at the top, so surround yourself with capable players that are aligned with your goals and values. Have them also act as ambassadors for change. Remove team members who are unable to grasp opportunities or lead those around them.

• Communicate what’s in it for your team.

• Clarify accountability. Stress realistic expectations.

• Before implementing a new idea, find out as much about it as possible. Downplay the claims about benefits and simplicity that are part of the package offered by the consultant. Treat the opinions of a sponsoring department with equal caution. Listen to peers in other organizations who can attest to the rewards as well as the challenges.