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By submitting this request for more information, you are giving your express written consent for Lindenwood University and its partners to contact you regarding our educational programs and services using email, telephone or text - including our use of automated technology for calls and periodic texts to the wireless number you provide. Message and data rates may apply. This consent is not required to purchase good or services and you may always email us directly, including to opt out, at [email protected].

Home Blog How to Lead Organizational Change with Skills from an Online MBA

How to Lead Organizational Change with Skills from an Online MBA

July 5, 2024

Contributing Author: Alley Bardon

7 mins read

In businesses of all scopes and sizes, organizational change is inevitable. In fact, some might argue that change is essential to business growth and development. 

When major changes occur within an organization, having a strong leader can make all the difference between success and failure. Specifically, these leaders can prepare and support organizations as changes occur, ensuring that team members are prepared for things to come. 

Interested in becoming the visionary leader that a business needs to drive and lead change? An online MBA may be the right path for you.

Online MBA Leadership Concentrations

Specifically, an online Master of Business Administration (MBA) is designed for students who have already completed a bachelor's degree program in business or a related field. These programs, which usually take between two and three years to complete, are meant to help students develop the foundational skills and strategy needed to become visionary leaders. 

Online MBA programs are a practical choice for numerous aspiring leaders and change managers because they offer flexible, versatile scheduling to fit around the demands of a busy life. In many cases, classes can be completed at the student's own pace, so they can continue their current career trajectories while building additional skills and knowledge. 

What Is an Online MBA in Leadership?

Likewise, several MBA programs offer concentrations or specializations, which allow them to focus on a specific area of business. Some examples of common concentrations in an online MBA program include: 

  • Accounting 
  • Healthcare administration 
  • Human resource management 
  • Project management 

Leadership is yet another popular MBA concentration. With this type of degree program, students can prepare for leadership and managerial positions within the private and public sectors. With an online leadership MBA, students can also become deeply familiar with the change management process and best practices. 

An MBA change management typically consists of around 33 credit hours, so students can expect to graduate within two to three years. Of course, this is dependent on their enrollment status and how many credit hours they take per year. Specific coursework in a change management program is likely to include courses on such topics as: 

  • Strategic planning and preparation 
  • Business communication 
  • Training and development 
  • Stakeholder engagement 
  • Evaluation/monitoring and reporting 

Visionary Leadership for Change

It's no secret that businesses rely on strong leaders to look to the future and drive change in the best interest of the organization. But what exactly does it mean to be a visionary leader and why does it matter so much? 

Importance of Visionary Leadership

Visionary leaders can drive both short- and long-term success within a business in several ways. For starters, visionary leaders can inspire teams by sharing a common goal or vision that keeps everybody focused and motivated. Meanwhile, these leaders tend to be strategic planners always thinking ahead and looking to the future when making decisions and taking advantage of opportunities as they arise. 

Finally, visionary leaders understand what it takes to navigate organizational change successfully, providing team members with the preparation and training needed to make the transition a successful one. 

Techniques for Articulating a Compelling Vision

One of the greatest challenges leaders face when preparing teams for organizational change is getting others to see and understand their visions. Fortunately, there are some leadership techniques that can be followed to help articulate a vision more strongly, ranging from the telling of relevant stories to the use of positive language and enthusiasm. 

Strategic Planning and Implementation

Another important aspect of successful change management is that of strategic planning and implementation. Specifically, this refers to the very carefully planned and deliberate strategies that a leader follows to help businesses make the right decisions. This is an essential part of change management, and there are many strategies leaders should follow when developing and carrying out strategic plans. 

Role of Strategic Planning in Change Management

Strategic planning is a critical part of change management because it is often one of the first steps toward organizational change. With strategic planning, leaders are carefully researching, evaluating, and formulating plans to change and grow for the greater good of the company. From there, change management is used to prepare team members for the transition itself. 

Techniques for Developing and Executing Effective Change Strategies

Leaders should be prepared to utilize any number of strategies when developing and executing change, including: 

  • Clear goal setting 
  • Careful stakeholder analysis 
  • Risk management and mitigation 
  • Strategy mapping and forecasting 

Leading Change Through Communication

Communication is one of the most important aspects of change management, as team members from all areas of a business will be looking to leaders for strong and effective communication of what to expect and how to prepare. 

Importance of Communication in Change Leadership

With strong communication skills (both written and verbal), leaders can ensure that their strategic vision is properly shared with all team members and stakeholders. This can help keep everybody on the same page while preparing for transitions. 

In the interim, solid communication from leadership can also ensure that concerns are addressed throughout the process and that team members feel encouraged and welcome to approach leaders as needed. 

Techniques for Fostering Transparent Communication and Engagement

Leaders can improve their communication skills while fostering engagement before a substantial change by following some simple, yet effective techniques, such as: 

  • Regularly inviting feedback from employees. 
  • Maintaining an "open door" policy in the workplace. 
  • Taking accountability as a leader and setting the right example. 

Managing Resistance and Overcoming Challenges

When change is on the horizon, there is always going to be some push-back and resistance. This is where the work of the change management leader really shines through, as these professionals are prepared to overcome common obstacles, manage resistance, and handle conflicts as they arise. 

Common Sources of Resistance to Change and Challenges

Oftentimes, the biggest sole source of resistance to change in the workplace is fear. Employees have grown so accustomed to doing things in a certain way that they're afraid to make any changes or step out of their comfort zones at all. 

In some cases, a simple lack of trust in leadership may also lead to resistance, or it may be that a leader has not effectively communicated the need for the change or long-term vision for the company. 

Discussing Strategies for Managing Resistance, Conflicts, and Obstacles

So, what can managers and leaders do to handle resistance to change when it arises? Usually, the best thing that can be done is to clearly communicate the reason for the change, as well as the short- and long-term vision for the company so that team members can see the "why." At the same time, it is crucial to take team members' concerns and comments seriously, rather than just brushing them off. 

Another effective strategy for overcoming obstacles to change is to set smaller and more attainable goals for team members along the way. This allows them to see their progress and celebrate small victories, rather than working toward a goal or vision that is hard for them to see. 

Leveraging Technology and Data Analytics

There are plenty of technologies and innovations available today that can make the job of a change management leader a little easier. By understanding the evolving role of technology and data analytics in change management, leaders can be prepared to use them to their full advantage. 

Role of Technology and Data Analytics in Change Management

These days, technologies like data analytics tools, artificial intelligence (AI), and even machine learning, make it possible to pinpoint specific trends and even predict outcomes with impressive accuracy. Leaders and managers can use this to guide and inform their own decision-making regarding changes and business growth. The key is knowing how to incorporate and use these technologies effectively within an organization. 

How Online MBA Programs Integrate Technology into Change Leadership

The right MBA program in leadership or a related concentration can help business professionals and aspiring leaders become familiar with the technologies and tools they can use to become more effective change managers. From there, these professionals can enter leadership and management roles with more tools at their disposal and a solid understanding of how to use them. 

Interested in an Online MBA?

These days, businesses need capable and confident leaders to help them prepare for and adapt to a changing world. This is where having a background and formal education in leadership and change management can make all the difference in your own career. 

Ready to pursue your MBA with a leadership concentration? Lindenwood University Online is proud to offer an online MBA with concentrations in leadership, management, project management, international business, and many other specializations from which to choose. Our curriculum is 100% online, so you can continue to focus on your career while you advance your studies. 

Get in touch today to request more information about our programs or get started with your online application to get things moving. While you're here, you may also want to check out our online master's in leadership.  

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