Fools rush in where angels fear to tread!
No-one ever likes to admit they have been foolish. It’s not a nice feeling, is it, and certainly something we'd avoid at all costs professionally & personally, surely?
Strangely, my experience as an Executive/Change Mentor shows me not. And let me add that I count myself firmly in this camp too!
There is so much pressure on us to embrace change, make fast decisions, stay ahead of the market, competitors, and even our peers & friends, that it causes the wisest & most experienced Leaders to act rashly or without due thinking for the longer term.
Often, those in the high-pressure position of “leader” start to make change, any change, in the hope it will lead to the right change & results.
Let me share an example to illustrate:
My client came to me as they'd been attempting to transform the business for a significant period of time, yet had not achieved the results or impact they had wanted, both within the business & within the market. Sure, they had done a lot of “change” & rushed into “action” but it hadn’t yielded the right results. Here’s why:
- There was no clear vision for the company that the Founder/Owners truly felt excited by or committed to;
- Toxic relationships had been allowed to grow, fester & pollute those in charge of leading the business, which in turn was dragging the culture down into negativity, dis-trust & dysfunctional behaviours;
- Initiatives for change would be talked about, talked about again & discussed a bit more to the point where no-one, including the owners, had any will-power or genuine belief in the discussed change to deliver, yet they weren’t brave enough to admit so, even to themselves - resulting in a Ground Hog day syndrome!
- Burn-out & fatigue was riding high in the leadership team
Things had to change, and here’s how we did it:
- We set about honestly looking at all the options for change, including pretty drastic courses of action, to enable the right change to become clear. Once there were no fear or limits on choice, people naturally became more confident & committed around decisions & direction;
- Once the right vision was clear (which turned out to be the one they'd been trying to do all along!) we created values & driving beliefs to underpin this & provide leadership with a road-map to guide development;
- We talked to the ‘crew” and gave them the opportunity to share real feelings, needs, fears & hopes, to start afresh with the clear understanding that there’s no shame in being honest & exiting, should it be in the best interests of individual & collective growth, happiness & future potential.
- We removed old limiting thinking from the senior leadership for them to have every opportunity to move forward confidently, collaboratively & consistently
- We set clear goals, milestones & learning needs, for change to be managed in a more constructive, accountable & effective way. With milestones & goals, clear signals can be seen to change tactics & also celebrate wins, no matter how small these may be - many small wins are needed to land the big ones!
Change is the one common denominator we're all having to deal with at work & in life. Yet, strangely, we're very rarely taught how to effectively manage it - for ourselves, our businesses & our teams. Most of us are left unequipped to handle change, standing in front of a somewhat scary mountain without knowing where to start climbing or how, meaning we'll either waste precious resources trying to figure our own way up, or simply stay at the bottom to avoid crashing back down.
You wouldn't go climb an actual mountain without first getting the right training and equipment, would you? So why would you expect yourself to be climbing this mountain and all the risks and responsibilities it involves without being equipped, and on your own? Good news is you don't have to. And here is where you can start:
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