In Change

“We cannot become what we need to be without changing who we are.” – Max DePree

Oftentimes as leaders we fail to see the need for change in our organizations.  Sometimes, though, we look at change as obvious.  We’re not happy with the results we’re getting or the way we’re getting them and we see no choice but to change.  It seems like a no-brainer.

Unfortunately, it’s rare that the leaders are the only ones whose opinions matter.  There are usually at least a handful of people in our organizations (if not more) who need to be on board.  Without their support the change we see as mandatory isn’t likely to happen.

The reality is that as leaders, we’re rarely the ones who actually have to implement the change on a day-to-day level.  Our responsibilities and tasks often don’t change.  The only changes we see are in the end results.  But for others within the organization, making change takes a lot of effort and requires major adjustments to how they have always done things.  In other words, it looks like a lot of extra work with no obvious benefit.

When you communicate change as a leader, do you just announce what’s changing?  Too many leaders do that and stop.  A few leaders go a little farther and also mention why they think the change is important.  The reality, though, is that it doesn’t matter if the employees know why you think change is important.  They need to know why they should think it’s important.

The next time you’re trying to drive change in your organization, ask yourself this:  Why should the key people in this organization want this change?  If the only answer you can come up with is “So the company can be more profitable”, then you may be in trouble.  Making more money for the boss doesn’t motivate people to do much.  There has to be something else.

Think about the change initiatives you’re currently working on.  Think about the people who are critical to the success of those changes.  Have you created a compelling case for why the change matters?  And is it as compelling for them as it is for you?

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