Executives are stakeholders too

businessman pondering change  Businesswoman celebrating successful change

and people, which we sometimes forget.

They are often left to make decisions on their own. When those decisions turn out to have positive results they often must jump in celebration alone. Depending on where they currently sit in the organization (and at times where their next seat seems to be) they may just have to guide someone else’s decisions. I can give you some first hand feedback from my service in those roles.

One of my cringe points is the way in which change models and approaches deal with leadership. Just like the change processes those models lead into some of the most important first steps are passed by and left out. I insist with my executive clients in a process that builds end state descriptions for all. Because the leaders will have the responsibility of delivering, deciding and explaining they must understand how their work fits in to the big picture, just like a first day employee.

They become champions of the connection of work and individuals to strategy and a bigger picture not cheerleaders for the new change/thing. Because they are the champions of that connection I would say it is their responsibility to make sure the change makes sense. It is their responsibility to make sure the train does not start until they can articulate the connection. Sorry senior leader client person that is not the role of the CM practitioner. Delivering that articulation and making sure it is heard and understood is. It is also not the role of your direct report (see previous sentence).

We can go on and on about all the things someone should do as a leader, but without the correct assumptions and perspective those fantastic leadership traits fall on dead ears and worse dead hands and change stalls or fails.

So if you are a CM practitioner start to acknowledge executives as stakeholders. If you are inserted into a change process that does not do that stand in front of the train. As a senior leader I hereby give you permission to ponder, clarify and get comfortable with your role as a stakeholder first and leader next.

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