The majority of people in organizations will just gladly go along any changes communicated as a positive development in the right direction.
But for some, change is not an easy sell, and more processes need to happen to ensure buy-in for all important stakeholders. As an on-purpose leader, you can take these small steps:
1. Overcommunicate the positive gains and the immediate steps.
The rest of the time, it's the middle phase that's ambiguous but not necessary to be bogged down by it. Keep the focus on the high-level objectives and what they can do right away. Immediate steps take their eyes off worries and fears, and lead them to practical things they can work on.
2. Be clear about the challenges and pains that will be faced
Do not promise the moon and the stars. What is mostly likely to happen in the beginning is that there would be massive amounts of adjustments to be made and then, the 'settling' period which would be the 'in-between' moments for most people. Tell them all the pains that will have to be endured and don't gloss over critical issues for each departments to do.
3. Resist going back and staying in one place in the change continuum
Do not go back romanticizing the past ways or methods of doing things. Resist this water-cooler talks in your office and in your boardroom. The legroom of moving initially is already an achievement in itself. You have come along in this continuum.
But don't rest your laurels in one place. You have to move to the next level-whether is developing and strengthening your talent, building a pipeline of future clients and customers, building a knowledge management system, among others. It could also mean preparing your Board Trustees and executives for a robust leadership role throughout these change period.
4. Celebrate with your key team and learn ways to accelerate
Gravity pulls us down. As much as we'd like to think that all the resisting dragons are slayed. Inertia and entropy, like gravity can bring organizations out of their momentum and elide their impact. Learn ways to accelerate and defy the need to do a lot of consultations which would not add value or wait for the next greenlight from higher-ups.
Be the best believer of this transformation in your organization. When the chips are down, remember, this is a phase, not the end. Resistors are not enemies to be thrown out of the bus. You should appreciate the value they provide and how much worth the journey it is to keep them alongside with you throughout the process.
The talk about sustainability has often been centered around the triple-bottom lines: economic, environmental, and social gains.
For once, let's veer away from this construct to look at what we are doing in training, building up, and strengthening the future of the on-purpose sectors we currently inhabit.
We need to have more people working on the pipeline--- ensuring that a new provocative, insightful, and well-intuited individuals get to the next level of leadership. We have the tools in our disposal to make it happen. With the trifecta of design, data, and technology, the potentials are vast and almost limitless. We have sent humans on the moon. We can do better now than in the last 50 years.
We need our retirees to act as mentors and guides to show us what we could be working on, lessons learned, and things we can avoid if we are paying more attention to what matters most.
We need more people connecting, bridging, and sense-making our present, immediate future, and long-term futures. This means that there's enough analytics, curation, and regurgitation by everyone for everyone. Yet, we remain lost and sometimes confused, as to where these advances are leading us to and how we can invest in critical infrastructures to bring us to our desired destination.
For me, sustainable futures is all about building the next generation which is you and me and everyone that is concerned about our societies, our planet, and our economies. We can't rest on our leaders, present and future to tell us what to do and lead us boldly. Strong followership will be growing, enabling leaders to take on a symbolic and muted roles instead.
We are the strong followers.
In my work with leaders and executives with on-purpose organizations, I noticed these three issues that arise when leaders do not let go of the need to be 'in control.'
Delegate with power
A leader of a group of leaders must delegate with power or else, giving free rein without the full authority to get the job done becomes a sticking point later on. This is a case of artificial empowerment which benefits no one.
Those who get 'volun-told' need not be afraid to ask for the full authority, not a training opportunity or a practice assignment.
Are you still in control while delegating the work to others? Give them the power and authority, give them the broad strokes, and let them create the outcomes that you seek.
Detach from outcomes
Senior leaders have the habit of putting their heads on their team members' plans and targets and watching them over their shoulders.
Let go of the need to control their outcomes for them. I once had a boss who had to be in one of my meetings to ensure that our objectives are met and the he gets to see things through. Waste of manager time! If you can't ensure, you failed in training, providing capacity, and setting the high tones. When I see directors sitting in one their staff's presentations or meetings, applying primitive managerial style is insufferable!
When they face problems, get them back again to their objectives and make it a teaching moment.
Honing your own leadership style
Nowadays, with all the bad content that you need to copy the power nap of so and so, and the 5am work style of this and that is atrocious.
People are beginning to be confused about leadership style and personal habits. Leadership style is your own sense of leading others, based on your values and strategies at it relates to the needs of your followers and organizational goals. Personal habits are not something that can be applicable to everyone. Take it with a grain of salt.
Leaders are made, not born. You can be in control of something but not all things in the organization. Learn to trust your team and begin to see real and positive change in the workplace.
Counterintuitively, those that are the best and brightest needed more help than you think.
They don't mince words and have the courage to pursue their goals despite and in spite of obstacles.
They don't settle for the mediocre-they push the boundaries of the limits that they find themselves in.
We can't afford to chase those that are not ready, not willing, and not able to be helped in general. This applies to organizations whose bottom workers cannot and will not be saved with the amount of investments in motivation, retraining, and financial rewards.
There are tons of people out there who are already doing amazing work.
The people who are depressed, suffering, and immobile have the tendency to wait for enormous amount of time, second-guess their moves, and incoherent about their processes.
Help those who are already leading and learning all the time.
In times of crisis, calamity, and/or disaster, we turn to the people that we trust to get advice, feedback, or correct information.
The Internet and the public space have churned in enormous amount of the same information regurgitated in many forms and at various levels.
After the first few weeks of the pandemic, none of them is useful anymore.
The world had moved on and the people have coped well despite the initial fear and chaos.
We don't need a crystal ball or sooth sayers. We need independent thinkers.
Now, it is imperative to reimagine organizations that can progress past-COVID19, in a new dispensation that does not respect past records of success.
There are two types of organizations responding well to post-recovery:
One type of organization refuses to get behind the public path to recovery and have chosen to enact their own norms and policies that demonstrate clear strategic awareness of their organizational capabilities and understanding of the dynamics around them. They have made 'lemonades out of the lemons' and unafraid to keep on reinventing themselves to get the right challenge they need.
Another type of organization is preparing themselves to have multiple capabilities on various types of implementation and service delivery. At the granular level, it means that staff will be competent whatever the next 6 to 12 months will be. There is no more postponement or cancellation of programming, but all will be migrated to virtual delivery. The knee-jerk reaction is over.
Going above the noise of recovery is a challenge in itself. This means that leaders should have the clarity of intent and objectives with the latest information on what's allowable and not. The rest hinges on the boldness of their imagination.
Cities such as Michigan, BC and countries such as Denmark and Germany are slowly reopening up after a few weeks of lockdown.
This all depends on what industries and movements are allowed to have freedom of access or movement. What it clear is that the restrictions can be staggered in such a way that the spread can be prevented. Socialising with certain limits can be reopened again. Vital industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, construction, and retail could be opening up more so than others.
The question I have for your organization is: what is your reopen plan?
Are you putting in place measures to ensure that the return to business unusual is secured, in gradual mode as conditions allow?
What personnel, management, technical, and strategic issues come to play?
What capacities are available now and should be reinforced when the organization reopens?
Who needs to be recalled back? Who needs to be on standby or in anticipation of slow but steady activity?
These questions are not premature, they are ripe for asking and answering now.