The title is a quote from Mr. John C. Maxwell and holds wisdom so great that it is next to impossible to say anything even remotely as wise as that.
But instead of trying to outsmart it, I rather try to explain my view about why changing is often so hard. In short: the main reason boils down to one of our prime drivers in life – the need to save energy.
The change that consumes more energy than the cozy status quo is always more or less painful. Only when there is some level of certainty that the change will pay off (as fast as possible), people are willing to invest time and energy to the process of change. But if the payoff is too far in the future, too abstract, vague, or just requires too much energy, it is quite likely that nothing will happen. This is the reason why it is crucial for the leader/doctor/parent/spouse/friend/… to explain the personal benefits of the change as concrete as possible. In case the journey to the better will be long and hard, it is wise to break down the process to smaller steps which are explained and done one by one.
Plan your message is advance before announcing it publicly.
Also if possible, rehearse it few times – at least if the stakes are high and you really need to make the change happen.
If communicating the message via email or some other written format, try to get someone trustworthy to read and comment it.
Is there a possibility that people don’t get the benefits, or the reasons to change?
Am I being concrete enough, and sure that all know why the change is needed, how it is done and what is expected during and after the process.
My Personal Change On April 2017
For me the change has been quite easy through my life. Speaking of which, I am now at the brink of change. After working for over 2.5 years in the current company I’ve signed a new contract and will be soon starting as an account director in a very cool and creative marketing agency. This will be a new chapter in my career and I am super excited about it. I hope to be able to help new colleagues and clients to thrive even better. Often change is the thing that can boost personal growth, and that is something I am looking forward very much with this step. Wish me luck!
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.
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.
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
Any organization can and will thrive if the people are happy, motivated, capable of independent work, and have a strong passion and belief of importance. But even a formerly great organization can kick the bucket if the motivation dies or is destroyed by bad leadership.
The most important tool to build a high performing organization is leadership which focuses on removing obstacles which would prevent growth and good atmosphere.The single biggest obstacle is fear, which I wrote about earlier. And that fear should be uprooted from the organizational soil first thing. Nothing grows in a land of fear.
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.”
In the following I have listed the other noxious elements that prevent organizations to thrive. After each problem there is a solution offered.
Lack of communication and transparency
“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”
George Bernard Shaw
Solution: Communicate! What is the direction? Where are we, what is happening, what has been decided, who has decided, who can decide and what?
Transparency should pass through everything in a modern up-to-date organization. Information that is not free creates rumors and destroys trust.
Feeling of separation
Solution: As mentioned in my earlier post, we humans are tribal mammals, and that is why it is very important for us that we feel being part of the tribe. When we feel fellowship we are more willing to help. Wise leaders tear down silos, glass roofs and help people feel being part of one big family. Easy tricks are to have lunches, parties, sports evenings and personal discussions.
Lack of respect
“Corporate culture matters. How management chooses to treat its people impacts everything – for better or for worse.”
Solution: Every normal human needs approval. The need varies from individual to individual, but only those who are emotionally twisted (I.e. psychopaths and narcissists) do not crave for acceptance. The bigger the status of person who gives feedback the bigger the emotional reward. Simple words to increase the feeling of respect is to say publicly “thank you, you did an awesome job with that project/thing X. It really made a difference to have you in the team!” If you want to be an ever better leader, consider also hugging* the person you just praised. That will release oxytocin which is so called “love hormone” and bonds people together.
* be aware of the cultural rules, sometimes shaking hands does the job.
No rewards from high performance
“Money is not the only answer, but it makes a difference.”
Solution: Every organization that aims for high performance has a reward system. This is essential, because the best players want to see in their bank account how their efforts are rewarded. This rewarding mechanism should be as transparent as possible and allow everyone to join. If there is no financial rewarding mechanism or it is unfair, trust me, high performers will leave when given possibility. If they are not leaving, they are not high performers and the organization never had one to recognize such.
Unclear goals and job descriptions
Solution: Most people value highly the situation where they know why they are hired and what they were hired to do. So it is the leader’s responsibility to communicate what is expected, set the KPI (key performance indicators for job) and agree about it with the employee. This can drastically improve the output as well as job satisfaction.
Solution: Even the best possible expert can get frustrated and unmotivated if the tools or the time for the work are undersized. There are no shortcuts here: if the organization want’s best possible results, it needs to give enough time and the best tools available. If that is not possible, it is best to scale expectations down and prepare to watch when competitors take over the market.
No possibility to improve in expertise or to develop in career path
“If you look really closely, most overnight successes took a long time.” Steve Jobs
Solution: High performing organizations make sure they have the best people around and that those people stay the best and motivated. That is why for example Google has allowed people to use 20% of their time to make their own projects and learn new skills. That sure is one of the reasons why Google is one of the most, if not the most, innovative corporation in the world.
“We all need people who will give us feedback. That’s how we improve.” Bill Gates
Solution: Give feedback and learn to know how the individual is capable to digest it without turning it as a negative issue. In short there are three kinds of people:
– People who only want to hear good news. Occasionally upper level executives under too much pressure, people who have low self esteem or those few who suffer from rare personality disorders.
– People who can handle also constructive feedback if that is served appropriately and accompanied with something nice. Most people belong to this group.
– People who seem to not give a shit about positive feedback but lust for educational feedback to ensure fast growth. These kinds of people are very rare, almost non-existent, there is no big ego to prevent growth.
No possibility TO give feedback
Solution: Arrange regular (monthly) one-to-one sessions and work environment surveys with option to suggest how things could be done smarter.
It is as important to give a chance to give feedback as it is to get one. Great places to work allow possibility and a forum for honest feedback without being afraid of punishment. Never try to bury possible issues that come to your attention.
Too many and STRICT processes
“Everything that is not forbidden, should be regulated.”
Anonymous Finnish government official
“It is more shameful to distrust our friends than to be deceived by them.” Confucius
Solution: No human relationship can excel without trust. It is extremely important to know that there is a place to come tomorrow despite of the possible challenges. Never ever should an employee or even a leader get punished for making an unintentional mistake. That will kill creativity. Not only for the person punished, but for the entire team or even organization. Such organization will pretty soon experience motivation deprivation as well as talented people starting to look for better places to work.
In my following posts I will go into more detail on how to create trust and fellowship. These two key elements are the foundation of any great place to work.
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When people are born, they are all equal. But then the fairness ends. Life is not fair. The nature of nature is not fair. It just is what it is. And for the most it is just a struggle to survive.
But guess what: It is up to you if you are going to sink down into the suffering or rather rise above the average. Stop blaming resources, past, or even present. That shit just drags you deeper into misery. Say to yourself: “I let go of all that shit that prevents me from rising above average. I focus on things that improve and enhance my mind, body and spirit. I choose to be ever better!”
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