Full disclosure: I strongly prefer revolution to evolution. Generally speaking, events roll slower than I would like and with less drama than I would prefer. Perhaps because of this I have developed
- the veneer of patience
- effective strategies for getting change implemented.
sidebar: I do believe that evolution is the natural state of the world, that left to itself, situations evolve. The revolutionary can have an impact as a force for change that occurs more radically, fundamentally or profoundly; which is something I can’t help but be drawn to
I’ve had many conversations with colleagues who are nervous, anxious about change, even change they deeply desire but seem unable to embrace or execute. Of course, part of the problem here is that we all call for change, can think of things we wish were different but the catch comes when that change requires we change ourselves! Barak Obama famously won election to President of the USA on a “Change” ticket – and is feeling the full backlash of an expectation that stuff would therefore change, but is almost wholly unable to influence individuals to change their own behaviours.
- Know what you want (answer this question: “What do I want?”)
- Invest in self awareness so that you can make yourself available to what really matters to you and that you can model the change you want
- Build followership and alliances that support and energise your change
Let’s start then with wanting change – look around you 360 degrees and boil to one theme that captures what you want to change. I’ll use something by way of example that I hope resonates; as I look around me, I want to change the level of trust that colleagues have in one another to move from ‘functional’ to ‘high’
I’ll assume you have a good baseline or metric to determine the current state – I have internal poll data that I would use.
Now for getting that change implemented, Go First! in no other aspect of the leaders practise is it so important to lead from the front and model the behaviour you desire in others yourself. In the example I have used, trust is about being predictable and reliable (see separate posting on Trust)
Make yourself available to the situations you take most energy from as a default. In the example I used here, building trust means investing in situations that have trust as a defining theme or issue and diving in to really expose difficult issues and address resistance or head-in-the-sand avoidance head on.
Don’t be shy – talk about what you want often and with passion, make clear your vulnerability. Keep your eyes and ears open, as you speak and write about trust you should spot where you can build alliances with engaged colleagues around you. Enlist! Enthuse! Energise!
Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Bruce Patton
@Yodaism: “If no mistake have you made, yet losing you are, a different game you should play.”
The bottom line on effect change is to know what it is you want to change which requires some degree of self awareness, following that go – start now!