Who is the best voice of a change?

When it comes to change, who the voice of the change should be can be one key element which is misunderstood or misaligned. It is a myth that the most powerful voice in an organisation is a CEO - especially when it comes to change. In fact there are numerous studies run in the world of change which show middle management are the layer of leadership who matter most if you want your transformation to be successful.

Now that isn't to undermine the ultimate power that a CEO has, but any leader at that level will know to engage their direct reports and then also to jump a layer or two to ensure their vision holds true when they are intending to transform an organisation.


All employees take direction from the leader we report into. They hold the power and you rely on them for guidance, leadership and inspiration. We follow what our direct leader tells us, we watch what they do and follow their direction. That is why middle management holds more power in this equation than a CEO of any large organisation. It is the biggest layer of leadership in medium to large organisations, but even in small organisations unless all layers are engaged and aligned the change will be compromised.

Let's step through how you identify who should be the voice of the change and the expectations on that person or people. 

Identifying the voice of the change

When conducting your impact assessment, you are looking at groups of people who have to change the way they work. In each of those impacted groups there are leaders. Possibly multiple layers. List those names and their roles. The further the layer of leadership from those impacted, the lesser role they will play.  Often times the approach is top down but from an engagement and ownership perspective the 'impact zone' of leadership is closer to those who have to change their behaviours, or adopt the new ways of working. For example team leaders have more power than Managers who have more change power than Directors. And so on etc. So a very simple exercise, collect those names and then engage those who have the most power the most. They need to understand their role in leading change, be enthusiastic about it and embrace it.

What does being the 'voice of the change' involve?

Being a really powerful change leader means more than reading from a script. You simply cannot fake or outsource the responsibilities of change leadership.

Role modelling:  During times of great change, leaders and what they do and say are often observed more than ever. Leaders are scrutinised about whether they are following new procedures, whether they reinforce the new way and call out (respectfully) those who may be engaging in work arounds. The criticality of role modelling and reinforcing the change can fundamentally affect the success of the change.

Leading from the front:  Leaders need to stand up the front and own the change. Having others speak to the change and then only communicate via email is not enough. Virtual or face to face team based communication, led and owned by the leader is once again a contributor to success. 

Answering questions: As a leader by answering questions about the change shows what you know and how much you believe about it. Ever witnessed a leader who fumbled questions about a change or had to defer every question to someone else in their team? It is embarrassing for the leader and you shrink slowly in your seat as all trust leaves the room. So if you are a leader you should take the time to prepare for questions, understand the impacts of the change and then you will be able to handle the questions, not a problem.

Asking questions: A strong voice of change also asks questions of others and of their people. Whether it is a 1:1 setting, asking their teams about how they feel about the change, or what their team members may think are challenging about the change. No conversations should ever be just one sided.

Having the right voice matters

It is clear that active leadership through visible sponsorship and role modelling, are critical factors in adoption and success levels of change. And for some change that means having leaders who understand, and make a change plan with their own teams. That is the best model for change and will always lead to success.

Resources for leaders

There are two key resources we make available for leaders who are typically time poor and don't want to be change experts but who want to lead change well with their teams.

These are a change impact assessment survey. Which can have you size the change you are leading, and thus create a simple change plan to lead your teams through it.

AND the easiest, fastest and most practical, cost effective course you will ever find on change. The Five Question Change plan will give you a choice of templates which you fill out answering five simple questions. Have a look and see what you think.


Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team. Your information will not be shared.


50% Complete

We will send it out

When the Change overview is ready we will send it out. If you want to know the basics of change, then look no further.