4 Steps on the Path to the Highest Good
Change may begin with declaration, but change efforts sputter until leaders change their own behaviors.
4 steps on the path to the highest good:
#1. Paint a picture of the medium-term highest good. Make it near enough to be attainable and distant enough to be aspirational.
- Engage others. If you expect engagement, you must leverage engagement.
- Focus on pain-points.
- Include facts.
- Breathe into aspirations.
- Use language that touches heads and hearts. Tell stories.
- Don’t unnecessarily offend current efforts.
- Evaluate assumptions. What assumptions have outlived their usefulness?
#2. Determine new leadership behaviors.
In the process of vision casting, ineffective leaders exempt themselves and focus on how others need to change.
- What must leaders and managers do differently? Change is first about leadership, then others.
- How must you think differently about leadership and followership?
- Evaluate the present with the future in mind. What systems and processes need to adapt or end because they don’t serve the change?
#3. Hold each other accountable for the highest good.
Design observable, measurable, shared behaviors. Leadership is a fantasy until ideas are distilled into something you can see. Three questions are essential.
- How might you be transparent with efforts? Change-efforts sputter and stall when secrecy prevails.
- How might you be transparent with results? Resistance slumbers while people talk. It digs in when the rubber hits the road.
- How will you respond to success and failure?
Successful leaders challenge the wrong-headed assumption that new results can be achieved by repeating old behaviors with greater sincerity and intensity.
#4. Equip people for success.
What new skills and systems support and sustain medium-term change.
What is essential for effectively leading change?
What makes change efforts sputter and stall?
Good afternoon Dan! I believe that there are no real accidents in life. Your post today couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time. I will be presenting in an off-site workshop this week to discuss leadership commitment to a change in the quality culture of an organization. I have drafted my presentation, but will use the insight you provide to make the presentation even more powerful. I especially like the comment, “Change may begin with declaration, but change efforts sputter until leaders change their own behaviors.” This is a big issue that I have seen before, and one which this organization has not yet overcome. Everyone agrees that there is a need to change the mindset of the organization, but management has not been willing to change their own behaviors. I have said it over and over again, that until the leadership is ready to demonstrate the change they desire, the organization will not change. The old culture will fight against any change, even if everyone agrees that this is what is required.
Great point Jay. It sure begs the question of who owns the problem. It rarely works for us to want change and then ask others to make it for us.
Good post, Dan, but what do you mean by “Breathe into aspirations?”
To LEAD is to SERVE!