In a recent Wall Street Journal article, Missouri Governor Eric Greitens made this statement, “People want leaders to create a sense of direction and to lead and to act, and they know that we will never get everything perfectly right, but they want us to lead*.”
For the past 20 years, I have subscribed to Prosci’s Change Management Benchmarking Study. Every year, they identify the greatest overall contributor to project success is active and visible sponsorship**.
In my experience spanning 30 plus years of managing change, I have observed successful executives perform well during transformational change. Dissecting Mr. Greiten’s comments, here are a few things I have observed.
Create a sense of direction. Define the results you expect to see in terms of outcomes. Define how the organization will be different. Identify the tangible changes people will experience first-hand.
Lead. Make these outcomes your passion. Don’t let up and don’t become side tracked. Don’t fall victim to the “bright and shiny object syndrome,” ideas that are great but dilute your overall message. Focus on the work to be done to make the outcomes a reality. Build your daily calendar around events and activities that drive toward these outcomes.
Act. Be active and visible in the pursuit of your outcomes. Communicate regularly and consistently with your leadership team and your organization about the value of these outcomes. Hold people accountable to achieve the results necessary to make these outcomes a reality.
Be fallible. I saw one executive who waited for conditions to be right before he announced his plan. He ultimately failed because he never acted. It is better to take appropriate risk and fail than it is to not act. You learn from this. Besides, if you are genuine, you’ll receive a pass from your organization. There are few things more powerful than a leader genuinely admitting that a course of action was sub-optimal. There’s a balance to this – admit failure too often and you might be considered incompetent.
When you incorporate these elements into your leadership, you will set yourself up for greater success and driving greater value from your change or transformation projects.
Dedicated to your profitable transformation,
*https://www.wsj.com/articles/a-former-democrat-rises-in-trump-country-1505513430 (subscription required)