How does your business need to change?
Every business, after all, is in some state of flux at any given moment, reaching for new levels of success while struggling against the common challenges of varying opinions, behaviors, attitudes, customs and competencies of its most valuable resource – its people. Intentional change is the departure from that norm.
Dealing successfully with the tension between the current cultural reality of an organization and its desired results, which has everything to do with its people, is where leaders must find their footing if they are to effect real change.
And while change can seem like a monumental task, leaders who are committed to producing successful outcomes over time must learn how to become effective agents of change.
To begin with, the change we envision is often distinctly different from what our people envision, and until the two are in sync, no real productive change can take hold. Where’s the breakdown?
Often it’s our blind assumption that our people should follow us because we’re “right.” But to create followers is to create environments where people are willing to follow. Another way to consider it is to stop trying to get people to do what we want them to and work hard to get them to want to do what we want them too.
That is a quantum shift in the way we do business because it changes the way our people respond to us and overrides the all-to-common “us vs. them,” counterproductive thinking.
People’s needs are not that complex. Their lives may be and often are, but that’s not the issue. As leaders our main shortcomings have mostly to do with how we miss opportunities to intentionally influence those around us and impact their behavior within the four walls of our organizations.
If we learn the skills needed to do that, we will have initiated a ripple effect of good, not just within our businesses, but well beyond! That’s the stuff legacies are made of.
What are those skills, and how can you, the leader, foster a culture of change that will lead to long-term productive outcomes?
Leadership Habits that Foster Positive Change:
Try adding these three simple leadership habits to your daily routine and watch closely how things change over time:
- Work hard to help people solve their own problems. If they’re the right people, they are capable and intelligent. When tempted to give away solutions for the sake of expediency, stop and say something like “You’re good at what you do and I have a lot of confidence in your ability, so tell me, what are your two best solutions for this problem?” Often times people will solve their own problem on the spot. Sometimes you may need to help them modify one of their suggestions to work better. Either way, you will have begun a shift in behavioral expectations, and more importantly, helped someone feel very valued.
- Ask people for feedback. When confronted with challenges or issues that defy simple solutions, get your people involved. Never mind that you may already know the best route to take. Help people discover and travel that same route for themselves via meaningful dialog and the use of their own intellectual capital. They’re much more apt to stop and solve these issues on their own in the future once they recognize that you trust them and believe in their ability to think for themselves.
- Discuss the future of the organization; often – in staff meetings, jobsite visits, performance reviews and casual conversation. However, to help your people connect and engage in the prospect of accomplishing that vision, make sure they understand just how they can be, and already are, an integral part of achieving it. Here’s how: ask them about their dreams and life goals. People usually struggle with this question because it seldom gets asked. But persist with asking it nonetheless! Is it family, children, education, travel, volunteering with a non-profit, contributing to church or community? Once you make the connection between your organizational vision and what’s most important to them you will have accomplished a major breakthrough in a person’s perspective and buy-in.
All change begins with the awareness of what can be vs. what is. And your job as leader is to view yourself and an agent of change and then create and sustain a culture of positive change. Businesses and organizations don’t change until people change! And change begins with you.
For help initiating the change your company needs in order to grow and prosper, Legacy Business Leaders has answers. A partnership with Legacy will change the way things are for your organization long-term. We’re here for you!