A few days ago, I was on my way to the barber shop when I saw an accident. A man was jay walking across one of Chicago’s busiest streets, no doubt in a hurry to reach his destination, when he was clipped by a passing truck. Fortunately, he escaped with minor injuries. Sometimes, short cuts just don’t pay off.

I have talked with many executives who want to implement change. Often, they are in “let’s just get it done” mode. They are willing to take shortcuts to speed up the process. Who can blame them? There are market pressures to move faster and faster. On the surface, taking the time to engage employees to drive change appears to be a luxury. Yet this is one of the single most strategic approaches to driving change to an expedient and thorough completion. It may take a little extra time on the front end to engage employees, but the implementation will ultimately be faster, and the solution will be far more sustainable.

The next time you find yourself in a hurry to implement a change, ask yourself these questions:
1. Ultimately, what do I want my employees to do differently or how do I want them to behave differently because of this change?
2. What will encourage them to adopt these changes?
3. What nuances of the change can they design – such as specifics about implementation in their respective areas, helping others on their team enroll in the change, or helping the leaders think through new measures?
4. How will I recognize their work, particularly if they exceed my expectations?

Don’t be like the jay-walker. Short cuts generally don’t pay off. Take the time to think through how you’ll speed up your change through engaging your employees. You will implement the change faster and have a much better chance of sustaining it, resulting in bottom-line financial benefits that you might not otherwise achieve.

Dedicated to your profitable transformation,
Steve

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