Too many leaders and companies struggle to execute the very changes that will enhance the business.
Without a doubt, in these dynamic times, leaders need hope — and help. Leaders need a way to close the gap between strategy and results. By engaging people in the right way, people want to be part of the solution versus feeling they have to comply. There is a power of understanding the dynamics of change which opens new doors to engagement. When leaders create the environment where people want to be part of the change everyone benefits.
My new book, The Truth About Change shares practical insights and guides leaders to accelerate successful change initiatives, now and in the future. The book provides ways for leaders to bring their best self to leading change to:
- Organize and energize an organization’s greatest asset — human capital
- Gain agreement and support, and overcome resistance from day one
- Create a culture of engagement, accountability, and productivity
- Unite and inspire others to work and think in the “new way”
Successfully leading change creates healthy businesses and provides the competitive advantage to bringing the best products and services to market. The Truth About Change lays out a path for leaders to navigate the challenges typically associated with new and different solutions. You can find The Truth About Change: A Leader’s Guide to Successfully Executing Change Initiatives on Amazon.com.
[Order The Truth About Change]
Special thanks to all those who have been a part of getting the word out so that leaders across the globe can be more conscious about how they show up to lead change. What leaders do and say matters. How leaders convey messages and how they engage people makes a huge difference to bring positive change.
To leading change with excellence.
In these transformative times, the status quo can be a death sentence to a business. Change is essential for any leader looking to advance and deliver top performance.
I have personally led and experienced both successful and failed initiatives. I have been honored to work with top leaders of global companies and iconic brands, each trying to create a “secret sauce” to bring products and services to market. Through my own experiences and significant strategic engagements, I have learned some consistent truths about change, regardless of the type of company, the industry, or location. I want to share these truths with you.
Truth: Leaders who know how to navigate and lead change have a competitive advantage that enables them to reap the rewards in increased revenue and profits. Unfortunately, most leaders, while constantly initiating change, admit they are not very good at actually leading change.
Truth: If you want a different outcome, you must change what you and your people do. Everyone – from the C-Suite to the person in the field – has a role to play. But often people want the benefits of the change, without being changed. People rarely agree, accept, or adopt a new way merely by being told to “do it.”
Truth: Change requires people who are ready, willing, and able to make the change. If you want the business to achieve its full potential, you need to find ways to engage your people and your organization quickly in working in the new way. You can spend millions on a business solution, but if you can’t get people to use the system or deploy the strategy, you will not achieve the results you want.
Truth: Change initiatives are people intensive, and learning a new set of behaviors takes time. You can accelerate the change with the right reinforcement systems and behavioral engagement plans. Regrettably, too many leaders shy away from the human side of change; they find it easier to focus on the business plan tactics.
Truth: Leaders talk about what others need to do differently, but often don’t realize that change starts with themselves. It’s easy for you to forget you’ve been working on the strategic initiative for weeks and months, familiarizing yourself with the design and business plan. Once the initiative is announced, you expect people to jump into action. Too frequently, the people don’t understand the change or know what they should do. They feel overwhelmed and undersupported; they may do the wrong things, or not act at all.
At a loss of where to start?
Change starts with you. Knowing what needs to be accomplished, why it’s important beyond just the dollars and cents and how you plan to engage the hearts, hands, and heads of your fellow colleagues to want to change versus merely complying with your request.
For more insights about leading change, pick up a copy of my book “The Truth About Change” on Amazon and visit my website at www.HilaryPotts.com.
When people inspire us, we learn and grow. It could be someone we know or someone we admire from afar. They make it look easy and seem to thrive in what’s chaos for most of us. Their actions leave an impression and a legacy for us to follow.
I know, Legacy sounds like a heavy word, especially when we are just trying to make it through the day. But stay with me.
From time to time it’s helpful to ask, “Am I proud of my actions? Is what I am doing today fit within my life purpose?” With each work assignment and interaction, we lay the foundation for our legacy.
Legacies are about learning and living. We build legacies over a lifetime through personal values and daily actions. Creating a legacy gives us meaning and purpose. It’s a way to share insights and experiences, with those around us.
The recent passing of Garry Marshall, the creator of iconic shows such as; Happy Days and Pretty Women left an impression on me even though I didn’t know him.
Over his lifetime, Garry built his legacy through love, kindness, and laughter. He taught many life lessons through his personal interactions and the many shows he produced. Friends and colleagues remember him as “an inspiring leader who set high standards…
keep it simple,
arrive early and ready to work,
listen to others,
celebrate people and don’t take yourself too seriously.”
Garry is a reminder not to wait until the end of our career or the end of life to start building a legacy. He built his legacy one interaction at a time. We don’t need to be famous to leave a legacy. It just takes living with purpose today.
With each assignment and role, we leave a legacy with those who interact with us. At work and in life, we face tough decisions. How we handle those challenging situations makes a difference in our life and others.
We all strive to contribute something to the world. Here are a few ways to get started:
- Reflect on what’s important to you and what brings you joy.
- Make time for the people and causes that are important to you.
- Pay attention to how you interact with others and be a positive influence.
- Coach, inspire and mentor others to bring their best.
- Bring positive energy and passion to all you do.
- Be grateful and find ways to work with whatever life brings your way.
To create your legacy, what enhancement can you make to bring your best self?
Every time I read one of John O’Donohue’s poems, I get inspired. His words of wisdom energize and urge me on to bring more of myself to the many roles in my life.
It’s too easy to jump in and charge ahead and forget to stop and smell the roses. This may sound so trite. Yet, a slight pause and quiet space can provide time for reflection to kindle the energy to move ahead.
So find a quiet moment between celebrating a new position and getting started anew. Honor the transition and determine the best path forward. Use this time as an opportunity to determine how you bring your best self to this role. I find John O’Donohue’s words of wisdom to be useful whether this is a new job, a different assignment or a change in role. It’s a chance to take a fresh approach.
May this poem give you the pause, reflection and inspiration to be open to the possibilities.
May your new work excite your heart,
Kindle in your mind a creativity
To journey beyond the old limits
Of all that has become wearisome.
May this work challenge you toward
New frontiers that will emerge
As you begin to approach them,
Calling forth from you the full force
And depth of your undiscovered gifts.
May the work fit the rhythms of your soul,
Enabling you to draw from the invisible.
New ideas and a vision that will inspire.
Remember to be kind
To those who work for you,
Endeavor to remain aware
Of the quiet world
That lives behind each face.
Be fair in your expectations,
Compassionate in your criticism.
May you have the grace of encouragement
To awaken the gift in the other’s heart,
Building in them the confidence
To follow the call of the gift.
May you come to know that work
Which emerges from the mind of love
Will you have beauty and form.
May this new work be worthy
Of the energy of your heart
And the light of your thought.
May your work assume
A proper space in your life;
Instead of owning or using you.
May it challenge and refine you,
Bringing you every day further
Into the wonder of your heart.
Poem from “To Bless the Space Between Us”
It’s the cultural and emotional intelligence that can blindside leaders entering new roles. This is what happened to George who found himself out of a job after the first 15-months.
George is a hard charging, passionate, results-focused executive. He’d worked at many prestigious companies significantly growing their business portfolios.
When Nancy, a long-time friend, and business colleague, asked him to join the organization as the chief operating officer, George jumped at the opportunity.
George’s marching orders were to turn around the recent dip in sales. He came in and quickly reorganized the sales force to operate more like one of their competitors. The implementation hadn’t gone smoothly. George had misread the vast differences in the two company’s cultures.
There had been some tough conversations and he’d rubbed some people the wrong way. At the time he chalked this up to their resistance to change so he kept driving ahead. Isn’t that what the CEO and the board had told him to do?
Had George paid more attention to his assimilation, could he have avoided this situation? What can we learn from this misstep?
Assess the Cultural Fit – Many executives get so excited by the business opportunity; they end up joining an organization that isn’t a cultural fit. Before getting all excited about the offer, take a hard look at the culture of the company. Look beyond the business and delve into the company values and culture. Ask yourself, “Do I see myself working and thriving at this company?”
Set Mutual Expectations – Busy, action-oriented leaders can shortchange these conversations. Work with your boss and set expectations and goals. It pays to discuss your 90-day transition plan before you accept the role. Even if there is a prior working relationship, don’t assume you are in lock step in this new situation. Schedule regular check-ins to review the business and how the assimilation is progressing.
Gain Knowledge About the Business – Don’t miss this opportunity to get a fresh look at the business. This includes the cultural, political, and emotional aspects of the business. Assess all the business levers to understand how the entire business ecosystem works. Stay objective and avoid making hasty assumptions based on your own preconceived notions.
Foster Key Relationships – Knowing the people and how they work makes it much easier to make business changes. Take the time to build meaningful relationships both inside and outside the organization. Understand the needs of others and treat them with respect. By building credibility, trust, and respect with colleagues, it will be easier to navigate through challenging situations.
Gel with the Team – High performing teams are critical to an organization’s success. The entry of a new leader changes the dynamics of a team. Accelerate the assimilation by facilitating open dialogue using a New Leader Assimilation Exercise. Discuss goals, objectives, purpose and preferences to build mutual understanding. In a short time, the leader and the team can get to know one another.
Enhance Your Leadership – It can be a mistake for leaders to assume they can lead the same way they did in the last role. What may be a “normal” way of speaking in one organization may be arrogant in another. Leader transitions are a great time to make enhancements and establish new leadership behaviors.
Prepare to Lead Change – Both the timing and approach are critical to making strategic changes. Start by understanding the organization’s culture and history with implementing change. Assess the implications and risks associated with making the change. And clearly get others agreement, alignment, and commitment before charging ahead.
Leaders can avoid career missteps by managing how they assimilate in the new organization.
Please share your comments on the best practices you use assimilating into a new role.