Inspired by the Harvard Business Review article Ten Ways to Get People to Change, I though I’d put those into the most important immediate steps that can get you off the ground & running in the right direction at the right pace.
I’d like to first declare that it’s my firm belief, based on a lifetime of experience, that while change can be influenced from outside, it must come from within in order to be lasting (sustainable). Decisions behind change are a reaction to either pain or inspiration. We either feel so much pain that we decide to change our behavior (habits) causing it, or we “see the light” (inspired) and move to reach a new level of self actualization (i.e. Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs).
1. Paint a vivid picture & make it sticky
First you have to clearly visualize what success looks like, but that visual won’t serve your purpose if you leave open for too much interpretation. You shape how you & others will contribute toward building that picture through quantifying & qualifying (concrete & measurable) targets. It’s a collaborative effort where others are responsible for executing tasks, but you are accountable for the result of those tasks. The execution of an idea is always more important than the brilliance of the thought (Harvard Business Publishing), and to execute impeccably, your communication must follow SMART Criteria.
2. Mobilize the crowd
You can’t do it on your own! Inspiration & direction is top / down, execution is bottom / up. Share your story and how it’s aligned with your purpose (WHY) / company mission. Every strategic initiative you set must be able to engage everyone in your workforce so that their activities become convergent forces contributing to your overall execution of strategy. That’s how you get engagement, motivation & commitment! Paintball, Karting, Happy Hour & other extra-curricular activities should be a consequence of shared goals being achieved, of a workforce feeling relevant and aligned with the success of the organization. Not the other way around!
3. Subtract, not just add, link to carrots and sticks (and follow through), Teach and coach well, Hire and fire based on behaviors
First, protect the sanctity of your church and make sure you hire already converted believers. Filter any new comers through an already establish core ideology & contribute to a stronger company culture. You’re not going to change anyone’s current beliefs.. and their behaviors only change when there’s a WIN in it for them.. further more.. you’ll have enough challenges changing the behaviors & habits of team members you already have.. don’t pile on unnecessary work.
Make sure the incentives you put in place will drive the behavior you require to achieve the business & consumer benefits you’ve envisioned. That was a loaded sentence, I encourage you to read it again, slowly, and in it’s individual segments. Market move fast.. make sure you periodically benchmark the assumptions made that justified your strategic plans. Be agile & pivot when / where necessary.
People don’t do what you expect, people do what you inspect (author unknown). You need to have a dynamic, yet limited, set of pulse-checks & rhythms to accompany your results. There are things you need to do daily, weekly, monthly and quarterly if you expect rapid, aligned and motivating growth. Leaders must manage their human resources.. not the HR Department. The old adage People are your most important asset is wrong. The RIGHT people are your most important asset.
Jack Welch (of GE fame) once said “Before you are a leader, success is all about yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” What are you doing right now that’s making others grow?