CREDIT – How to make the change

It is almost always possible to do the change for the better. A change is a process like any other transformation.

You can start by asking: “What is the most important thing we/I need to do to perform better?”

In order to make the change, be it personal or organizational, I have simplified the process to the abbreviation “CREDIT” – which as a word means:

“praise, approval, or honour” – Cambridge’s dictionary

Besides of the many other meanings the word holds, these verbs perfectly describe the essence of the change. So let’s see what the C.R.E.D.I.T. is made of!

The article continues after the image.

The Six Elements of Making a Change

1. Communicate…

…the goal, the direction, why the change is needed and what is the one thing that needs to be reached. Make it simple – find the core of the idea and explain why this is the most important task.

It is crucial for the change to succeed so that people understand WHY and HOW the change is done.

2. Respect

People go the extra mile only if they respect you or they fear you. Respect is generated by respecting. Choose your side.

3. Educate

It is the leader whose duty is to coach and motivate employees. Sometimes this requires extra attention, and always good communication: what is expected and why. Just make sure that the person who is being educated is motivated to learn. If in doubt, please check my earlier post http://jukkaniittymaa.com/2017/01/14/how-to-keep-people-happy-and-motivated/

4. Discuss

It is always smart to let people participate as much as possible. That is done the best by discussing one to one. In those discussions it is better to listen more than to speak. That is the reason why we have two ears and one mouth. Well not really, but still a nice proverb. 🙂

But don’t try to roll the final responsibility on other people’s shoulders – as a leader you are in charge and also the one who ultimately needs to be able to do the decisions. Even hard ones.

5. Inspire

People love the change if it feels good and is beneficial to them. Inspiration can be more motivational I.e. getting praised by a manager or a monetary incentive I.e. giving a bonus for a good work. Very often the best plan is a combination of many ways.

6. Track

Make sure you know and remember your own goal. And keep steering the ship accordingly. If it looks like nothing is happening amplify the CREDIT process: communicate more, keep respecting, educate those who need and seek guidance, discuss until there is nothing more to discuss and make sure people get rewarded fairly for a good work.

I hope that this simple roadmap helps you to make the change for the better. Also please feel free to comment this post in the comment section below or in the social media. I would love to hear your thoughts. :3

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The biggest problem in communication?

Last summer I had the privilege to receive honest feedback from my colleague who was about to leave to take on new challenges. We chatted for a while and the most valuable feedback I had had in years was simply:

“Jukka, please communicate more about your vision and how you plan to execute it.”

I had sincerely thought that there was no need to communicate that much more. I even felt that I might had been slightly too eager in communicating my vision. But that simple feedback opened my eyes: I was wrong and people are not telepathic. And even if they were, everyone is focused on their own issues and tend to forget what is not crucial for them to do their job. On the other hand, I also realized that communication is never just about communication: you are always leading as well as building your brand as a leader.

Every move you make, every word you say – They’ll be watching you.

After the feedback I started to look ways and means to express my vision more. It is not always easy to find the best way to tell people what is expected and why, as it’s important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, see: different target groups respond better to the different ways of communication.

A simple rule of thumb

I have been doing my best to utilize the following principle in communication:

For masses tell stories, for board of directors use data.

The idea behind this short rule is that most people are too lazy to dive deep into facts, but when you are passionate and want to make decisions that hold water, hard data and evidence is preferred.

The elements of a message

On an upper level the elements of message should consist of the following:

  1. Why? What is the reason we are doing things, why am I communicating – what is the big lesson behind it all. What I want people to know? This is the vision.
  2. What happens, how does it feel? The surface, the words to tell the story. Share something emotional, personal, factual and maybe surprise people with a twist or two. This is the mission. If you want more precise advice, don’t worry: I will also write more about storytelling mechanics later.
  3. Next? There should be a fairly simple and precise CTA (call to action) in the story on how to proceed. Don’t ever assume people will understand your subtext: good corporate or marketing communication rarely relies on sharp attention or wits.
building up a personal communication strategy

I also recommend to build up a personal communication strategy. For example, a simple communication strategy in short could be:

  1. At the first stage focus mostly on upper management and on your team. That is mostly because you might want to involve them in making of the vision.
  2. For upper management use more data, for the team emphasize the personal benefits and emotional factors.
  3. As the foundations have been done the next step is to increase transparency and make the vision more company-wide. Use approx. mix of 80% emotion and 20% of data in the end of messages/presentations/whatever are your means of communicating.
  4. If possible, start to express your vision publicly. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, your own/corporate blog and maybe even YouTube are great medias to share your vision to the world. Remember that in mass communication emotion is usually the most effective way to make the vision fly. At least if you want to spread your message to as wide of an audience as possible.
  5. Be careful, nobody is not interested in your vision if it is not relevant to people. Relevance is the key in everything. So make sure your message contains something valuable. It could be a funny story, helpful article, mind blowing stunt or whatever cool thing you come up with. Only your imagination is the limit.
The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.
– George Bernard Shaw
IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY

For me the simple and short feedback from the ex-colleague had a massive impact. But in case of an emergency where you don’t have the luxury of getting honest and relevant feedback and help, please send me a message to jukka@jukkaniittymaa.com and let’s have a talk to see if I or my colleagues could help you to excel!

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