How to Make Meaningful Change
It takes no courage to stand aloof and complain.
Do you wish to lead? Change something.
#1. Accept the messy.
Acceptance isn’t approval.
“The first step toward change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.” Nathaniel Branden
Real leaders deal with imperfect environments and messy people to produce meaningful change.
Anyone who waits for the perfect environment misses opportunities to create meaningful change. All organizations need to improve. Environments always fall below ideal.
Change is less relevant in organizations that have it all together. The way to achieve meaningful success is to make a mess better.
Frustration is healthy only when it moves you to make things better.
Anyone who uses an imperfect boss, team, or organization as an excuse to sit on the sidelines squanders talent.
The messier your team – the greater your opportunity for meaningful change.
Look for a mess if you aspire to produce meaningful change.
#2. Show up to care.
Your mind rushes to systems, processes, programs, and results. Change-makers pull back and consider the struggles and challenges of people.
Focus on people because people deliver results.
Develop people who deliver results.
When you lay awake at night, think first about the problems OTHERS face. Great leaders give themselves to people, not systems and programs.
5 questions for caring leaders:
- What issues are others grappling with today?
- What nagging frustrations drag team members down?
- What unmet aspirations ignite an employees energy?
- How could you fuel progress?
- What barriers to success might you remove?
Care enough to discuss tough issues, even if it hurts. Reluctance to deal with difficult topics reflects your need to be liked.
Self-protection hides from challenging issues.
Caring leaders turn outward. You naturally view the world as if you’re the center. Real leaders learn to put others at the center.
How might leaders make meaningful change?
To make ” a meaningful change” , we have to understand what the change needs to be? The direction the change will bring to the mess. More importantly getting everyone to recognize what needs to be done and how we are going to do it. It may help if you show a decision tree of if we do this, our intended outcome is this, based on prior experiences tends to bring light to the situation. Be prepared for many viewpoints and rationalize them with factual events that have worked in ones past.
Thanks Tim. One thing comes to mind as I read your comment. Don’t paint a picture of the bright future until people are sick of the present.
Dan , thanks for a great topic.
Right now, this resonates with my personal life.
#4. How could you fuel progress?
Allow your staff to take ownership, then let go. Watch the ‘creative’ catch like wild fire!
When the only constant in life…is change, we can all rest assured. We don’t always like it; however, like growing pains we are all better for it!
Thanks melrose. Your practical ideas are so helpful. Step back and let others take ownership…thats harder than we might think.
Hi Dan. I love a good mess, as long as it means work is being done with improvement as the goal. I too see so much focus on process with not much regard for the people side.
Even to the point where those we attempt to place at the center (as you describe) or provide growth opportunities for, lean very hard on current/established norms. They fear that place of stepping out. It’s avoidance of ‘failure’ or ‘questioning’ when their performance reputation (as they see it) hangs in the balance. Safety is comfort, comfort is clean.
As always, Thank You Dan.
An interesting thought-provoking post!
Liked your logical steps to bring in a desired change by business leaders. It’s quite true to be first aware of the current messy environment and then accept a challenge to correct the same. This is to be followed by action to work in clearing imperfect environment and gear up people to produce meaningful results.
This can happen with initiating good interactions with people who need to change their working habits to reach the new desired level. Leaders handle this task by bringing in better operating systems, procedures and control mechanism to push people to work on new challenges and succeed. People get self-inspired when they are shown better future of tomorrow and the benefits likely to accrue. They are at times divided in task-force teams to handle certain tasks with the necessary guidelines and plan of action. Things work out well when the performing teams develop the required faith in their leaders and the overall fairness in terms of good recognition and rewards.
Good leaders do all these by taking the team along and creating a suitable environment for them to excel and succeed.
I needed this