“In times of change, learners inherit the earth, while the learned find themselves beautifully equipped to deal with a world that no longer exists.”
– Eric Hoffer
(Author, Philosopher, Presidential Medal of Freedom 1983)
We train hundreds of leaders every year. Business owners, CEOs, executives, frontline, and first-time leaders. One of the final sessions we teach is on Change Management, leading an organization through substantial change. When we are responsible for organizational evolution all of our leadership potential, every leadership skill, and every ounce of relationship capital gets put to the test.
A few truths leaders need to understand about change.
- RESISTANCE is normal: If you are not experiencing resistance, you aren’t changing much. It is every human’s first response to change. Expect it. Anticipate the root cause and emotions behind the resistance.
- Why matters: Leaders must create a SHARED NEED that is stronger and more compelling than the resistance you will experience.
- VISION: Create the story that follows this simple pattern. ‘HERE’ is painful, ineffective, we are losing ground. ‘THERE’ is better, we have fixed things, we are winning. With these initial ACTIONS, we will begin closing the gap between ‘HERE’ and ‘THERE.’
- Communication over time leads to progress: Every organization is filled with a mix of pioneers, early adopters, late adopters, and laggards. All are good people we need on the other side of the change. Everyone won’t move all at once, this is normal, repeat #2 and #3 frequently until you get to the tipping point.
“Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.” – Mark Knopfler, Dire Straits
Great leaders and entrepreneurs initiate change and evolution to stay ahead of the competition and win in the marketplace (windshield). Global pandemics, recessions, unplanned turnover, and new competition will also force us into change (bug). The process is the same no matter the cause. Always better to be the windshield.
Curious enough to start studying the science and psychology of change? Add these books to your reading list.