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Crossing the bridges of change…

As I sat in the meeting, I listened intently to the conversation about building traction with the new, unfolding changes.

On one side of the table was the “why is it taking so long?” and on the other side was “why is the change needed?”  It sounded a bit like a tennis match with words as it bounced from one side to the other.  The passion behind each side of the conversation was evident.  And so was both the intensity of emotion and the level of frustration.

It seemed to grow as the meeting continued. Change rarely happens by one group discovering something new and motioning the rest of the group to cross the bridge with the promise of a “brighter future” on the other side.

Instead, change requires us to meet others where they are.  It’s up to us to help them navigate the divide in a way that matters to them.

200298704-001At each step, you must earn their trust so you can build the bridge.  It is the only currency that fuels real change.

We must remember that change is first and foremost – a personal issue.  There is no skipping this first step of meeting people where they are.  PERIOD.  The quicker your leadership puts focus on your change process to make this happen, the sooner you will feel the forward movement.

Last week, I had the opportunity to speak with another leader about change she was driving for her organization.  Her process allowed her to understand that the leadership team responsible for the change had  looked at the data and made their decision.  The front line leaders, the executors of change on the other hand, didn’t understand the need.  They didn’t care about the data.  They wanted to see the benefit.  She started with this obstacle and then worked to help them bridge the gap – to show them how this would benefit their customers so they could understand the data.

Learning to embrace both the head of the leaders and the heart of the front-line allows an organization to unleash the power of transformation.  Incorporating this into your core leadership process will have a profound effect on your results.  It is never about the power of one in the CEO/COO.  It is always about the power of your team.

And yes, it starts with YOU and your ability to embrace change.  Your pace of change will set the tone and the capacity to move.  Your team will only be able to move at the pace you embrace.

Learning to build your muscle for personal change will help you be a better leader.  It requires time to think about what matters to you, be clear about your priorities and goals so you can build the commitment and will to make it happen.   This allows you to create joy in your work.  It ignites your passion to grow as you engage to help others optimize their potential too.

Then it is about inspiring your early adapters by earning and building their trust through actions (not words alone).  Your intentional focus here will show others what is possible. Then the “next moveable” group will appear…

Too many times, I see organizations spread their change process like peanut butter and then get frustrated when things aren’t moving.  Or engage in actions that bust the trust and stop the forward movement of change.  It is best to work with those that are ready and willing to engage.  Rarely, can wholesale changes happen all at once.

I look forward to hearing what you are doing to be a better change leader of yourself and others.  Learning to work on our process will impact our ability to be effective as we work in our process leading others.

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