You were asked to lead the change.
Everyone you spoke with wanted to move forward.
You kicked into gear to get it done.
And, now everyone is furious with you…
People are messy. The thing you must remember is that when people are asking you to make things better, they rarely consider that they may need to change their own behaviors and patterns in order for that to happen. They can imagine that you will address their co-workers’ behaviors, but they often can’t imagine that you will address theirs. In fact, they often feel pretty angry that you are coming into their world and implying that they have been doing it wrong by asking them to change. They want you to change things but they want you to do it without asking them to change.
So what do you do when you are asked to lead an important change? Here are 3 steps to successfully leading change:
Create a Vision for what is Possible — Create a shared definition of the desired outcome with specific, tangible outcomes that will actually contribute to individual and organizational success.
Share the Vision Broadly and Listen Closely for the Obstacles to Achieving the Vision — Most people’s first response to a proposed change is that it can’t be or shouldn’t be done. Listen to what they believe the obstacles are to getting to the desired outcome. Pay particular attention when people feel that they are going to lose something in the process.
With the People Most Affected, Define Ways around the Obstacles — When people feel they matter in defining how to move forward, they are better able to handle the disruption that comes with change.
People are messy. They often want things to change and then object when it comes their way if it means doing something outside their comfort zone. Your job, when leading change, is to remember that most people will move toward a vision if they can see it, they value the benefits, and they are part of defining the solutions. Take the time to get them on board and you will have much greater success—and so will they.
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