The only certainty about change is that it will never be this slow in the future. Everyone has resistance to change, but research shows those with high performance potential have lower resistance.
It’s your job as leader to thrive on change and take your people with you. Develop the attitude: change always comes bearing gifts. Welcome the events that throw others into turmoil. It’s an essential part of leadership by example.
Here are three ideas to help:
1. Instill a sense of urgency
When communicating the need for change the key ingredient is to instill a sense of urgency. Talk up the importance of achieving change by making the consequences of not changing seem more dangerous than moving into the unknown.
Share the reasons driving the desired change – be that lousy customer feedback or the threat posed by a new competitor – to make the case for doing things differently.
You want your people to say to each other ‘Let’s go, we need to change things.’
How can you raise the urgency of what you want to achieve?
2. Delegate inspirationally
It’s stimulating to be asked to solve something. It’s tedious to be told how to do it. The secret to good delegation is to delegate the end result, not the method of achieving it.
Engage your people in the change initiative by setting them the challenge of innovating new ways to increase profits or improve customer satisfaction. Instead of simply prescribing how best to achieve this.
Even if you can see the solution for yourself, we often disengage people when we try to impose our thinking on them.
Let people come to their own realisation of how they need to change and they might even surprise you with a brilliant idea or two that you hadn’t considered.
3. Target early wins
In the words of Charles Darwin, “It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.”
To keep your people responsive to change, pay enormous attention to early victories. Keep momentum going by recognising and publicising the achievement of goals as the change takes place.
Nothing succeeds like success.
Don’t wait until the final destination is reached before giving any praise. Set short-term goals for your people to meet and celebrate.
Take time in meetings to explain why performance is improving as a result of the change initiative – and create heroes by recognising progress made by particular individuals.
Keep people responsive to change by celebrating short-term goals.
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