Inspiring Change? Embrace Risk!

You are a brilliant, creative and accomplished executive. You lead a dynamic and diverse team of senior leaders with excellent skills in their field. And the best part? Your Board of Directors thinks you are AWESOME.

Today, in fact, your board approved a massive expansion and development proposal on a scale that will rock your world, transform your company’s trajectory and life as you know it. Congratulations!

It’s easy to be caught up in the thrill of a company transformation. But take a breath and consider how you effectively communicate the great news and more importantly your vision. Are you ready for that? Is your team ready for that? At an individual level and collectively as a team, do they grasp the implications?

The world’s most successful leaders have faced transformation at least once in their careers. Why do some leaders struggle in the chaos of transformation while others rise above? What communications strategies do GREAT LEADERS use?

I played many roles during times of transition from a transactional culture to one of transformation. One of my challenges in navigating change is one I shared with others: thinking differently. A fixed mindset is the enemy of innovation. Under stress or overwhelming excitement, I learned that we easily revert to using our fixed mindset, old tools and the same work habits because “they got us here.”

We didn’t see any need to change.

As Marshall Goldsmith said in his worldwide best-seller What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, delusional self-confidence causes you to resist change.” Innovation comes from constant change and continuous improvement practices. Change is here to stay, so it is time to change your mind and your mindset and adapt to the circumstances. Change can be scary and risky, but adapting new habits and implementing new practices are critical to remaining competitive–and keeping your job. Inspiring your team to face change head on starts with YOU. You must adapt first. And adaptation starts with a growth mindset.

Embracing Risk

High-performing teams and teamwork starts with you:

  1. The “people” side of change must be as robust and prioritized as your operational strategy and change. I advocate that “people” and processes should be what you focus on first: get the right people on the bus in the right seats. Assign accountability to your executive sponsor and your CHRO.
  2. Set the stage for change by eliminating policies or practices that keep teams isolated or in silos. Take charge by clearly describing your expectations for collaboration and daily communication. Update any policies or processes that get in the way.
  3. Establish a reliable cadence of recurring communication as soon as possible with your key leaders. This simple practice works wonders. Articulate your expectations and describe in visually compelling language the “big picture”–the “WHY?” and the “WHAT?” –and let your leaders decide on “HOW?” the work gets done.
  4. Create an accountability structure to ensure your leaders have a line of sight to your expectations. Align performance to the results you expect. Then trust them to do the work.

My best work and most rewarding work of all centers on inspiring leaders to change, communicate, collaborate and continuously improve while integrating strategy across matrixed organizations. I have dozens of change initiatives under my belt from 28 years of management experience as a project leader, a business sponsor, a change agent and a corporate communicator. I am here for you. Write a note or call me if I can support you in the exciting process of transformation!

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