In Change, Leaders

“It is easy to sit up and take notice.  What is difficult is getting up and taking action.” – Al Batt

All of our talk about growth the past few weeks & months is, in the end, just that – talk.  At some point the talking has to stop and the working has to begin.  And that point is exactly where so many growth plans go off the rails.

Growth by definition means change.  Being who you are got you where you are.  If you want to be somewhere else, you have to change.  Therein lies the problem.  We struggle with change, both in our businesses and in our personal lives.  Nearly all of us have a history of failed attempts at change.

Why does that happen?  And why does it seem to happen over and over?  After all, as humans we have a pretty highly developed ability to learn, particularly from our mistakes.  So why do we keep failing when it comes to “getting up and taking action”?

A soon-to-be PhD friend of mine could give a lot better answer than I can in a few short paragraphs, but there are four things that come to the top of my mind.  In no particular order:

1)    We’re easily distracted.  We have too many things going on and we try to bounce from one to the next.  The result is that we end up being mediocre at everything and excellent at nothing.  Find a way to clear your plate.  Get rid of some of those things that don’t need to be there.  Stop-Delegate-Reengineer-Outsource your day.

2)    We lack confidence.  We’ve failed so many times in the past that subconsciously (sometimes consciously) we assume we’re going to fail again.  So the first time things get difficult we hear the old familiar chorus of “Here we go again”.  Try something easy to start.  Get some easy wins.  In most sports, people talk about the importance of getting an early lead.  The same thing applies to your business.  Get up early & everyone starts to get on board.

3)    We aren’t accountable.  The average organization has next to no accountability process.  If you fail, what happens?  Nothing.  If you succeed, what happens?  Nothing.  In particular this tends to be true for leaders.  The world is full of leaders who don’t answer to anyone for their behavior.  If you won’t be held accountable, why would you expect your people to be?  You’ll never get better behavior out of your people than you get out of yourself.

4)    We don’t measure performance.  Yes, we look at the bottom line.  But what behaviors create those bottom line results?  If we want to be accountable, what behaviors are we accountable for?  Every organization needs to monitor specific key performance indicators (KPI’s).  If you don’t, how do you know if you’ve succeeded or failed?  What behaviors are you really encouraging?  And don’t just use $$ as a KPI.  Profit is a result – what behaviors cause your business to be profitable?

What’s keeping you from making the changes you need to make in your organization?  Whether it’s one of those four things or something else entirely, it doesn’t have to continue.  You don’t have to add to your history of failed change.  You have the chance to get up and take action – DO IT.



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