How to make big change happen

Making big change happen can be complicated, challenging, risky, frustrating, exhausting or overwhelming. If you feel this, you are not alone. Here are six tips for making big change happen in your life, plus your chance to win a copy of the essential guide

by Psychologies

What’s the big change you’re working on or wanting to make happen? Whether it’s transforming your organisation or making things better for the people and places you care greatly about, you’ll know that leading for big change can be exciting, inspiring and purposeful. It brings people together. You come alive. You bond. You laugh, cry and build together. It invites us to be our best and give our best. It’s a difference that feeds our soul and can make our hearts sing. Big change addresses our collective challenges and makes our organisations more resilient, productive, sustainable and humane.

But it’s easy to fail, and unfortunately many do. What can help you and your team succeed?

Working with hundreds of people and teams making big change happen in businesses, charities, social enterprises, sports and educational organisations and more, the authors of The Little Book of Making Big Change Happen (Troubador Publishing, £8.99) see six aspects of making big change happen that make a real difference. As you look at these, and think about the big change you are up to, how do you think you’re doing?

6 essential tips for change

1. Purpose - A clear, shared, inspiring purpose. A sense of endeavour brings you together and pulls you forwards. How clearly can you and others describe yours? Does everyone agree and take responsibility for it? Is it inspiring for all involved?

2. Team - If it’s big change, you can’t do it alone. You need a cohesive, committed team with a range of capabilities. How much attention do you give to your team, talking about it and developing it? What makes your team work well, or not?

3. Engagement - Getting key stakeholders in the thinking and conversation helps you attract support, navigate through difficult waters and make wise and informed decisions. How well are you engaging your key stakeholders like customers, staff, partners, suppliers, investors, policy makers, media, and not forgetting the environment and future generations?

4. Culture - You need a culture that matches the scale of your inspiring purpose, that enables and inspires. That doesn’t avoid the difficult things. That encourages, recognises and appreciates. Do your people give off their best and feel enabled to do so? Are you all comfortable supporting each other and also challenging each other? What is the atmosphere in the team and organisation?

5. Results - You will need to be clear about the results you want and the impact you ultimately want to make. You need a way of knowing how you are making progress along the way, and how you manage all the resources that make the adventure possible. What could be the indicators of progress? How are you breaking down complexity so that people understand their role and success measures? Do you have a focus on outcomes? How will you know you are succeeding? What is the business model that can turn your purpose into results?

6. Inner journey - This is so important and so often overlooked. The bigger the outer journey, the bigger the inner journey you need to make. How do you learn as you go along? How can you make yourself more resilient whilst staying open to learning? What qualities do you want to develop in yourself and others on this journey?

We have found that leaders who are taking on the journey of making big change happen need the humility to acknowledge that you - we - have much still to learn, the courage to start some new practices and habits, and the persistence to keep going.

If you find thoughts and questions like these useful, you might like The Little Book of Making Big Change Happen by Neil Scotton and Alister Scott (Troubador Publishing, £8.99). It’s dippable, practical and easy to read.

FREE download

You can also download your own Big Change planner here, to help you gain clarity around how to make changes in your life, work and world.

Reviews include:

“When I started reading The Little Book of Making Big Change Happen, I knew immediately that it was going to be an important source of wisdom and inspiration to me.” Adrienne Skelton, Director of Strategy, Arthritis Research UK.

 “The book is a quiet voice of reason which will be useful for leaders and their teams alike. I loved reading it.” Susan Allen, Chief Transformation Officer, Santander UK.

“Don't judge this book by its title or its size! I found the book to be much more than just about organisational leadership and change. It's about choosing to make changes that will have a profound affect on yourself, your team, your organisation and the wider world through the big change you are working for. If you desire to be a 'legacy leader' then this book is for you.” Doreen Thompson-Addo, Stephen Lawrence Charitable Trust

Special Psychologies readers book launch offer

Psychologies readers can save 30%! To get your copy of The Little Book of Making Big Change Happen via the publishers, Troubador.co.uk, enter the discount code PsychologiesSept-30 and you will receive a 30% discount. Hurry though, because this is only available until the end of September.


Once you start to initiate big change, things get even better. “We love sharing and helping people who are making big change happen,” say the authors. If you do too, then we want to hear from you. Share a lesson that you believe will help others to achieve big change.

We will make it available to everyone via the One Leadership Project website, and the ten best wisdoms will be featured in Psychologies magazine. The winners will also win two free copies of the book.

To be in with a chance of winning, and sharing your advice, complete the form below by midnight on 30 September. Good luck.

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