4 Steps To Tackle Relentless Change
Is Your Organization Staring Down Relentless Change?
Organizational change. It’s real. It’s big. And it’s flying towards you like a 10-ton meteor you have no hope of stopping. The kind of change that causes you to question the work you do as you know it, your relationship with co-workers, and what you need to deliver. If you’re responsible for driving it, you’ll need to get on board quick and figure out how to influence people up, down, and across the organization to stop what they’re doing, even if they don’t report to you, and get the best thinking on the table.
This kind of change requires people to get their heads around new ways of thinking, question values and assumptions, and make trade-offs between the way “they’ve always done it” and what cannot be the same in the new environment. These are adaptive challenges. The kind of challenges for which you don’t have existing ‘know-how’ to solve. Facing an adaptive challenge is hard. Leading a team through it? Well, that will challenge even the best leader. The struggle is real.
Often in the face of big hairy monster kind of challenges, leaders fall back on what they know. They get a team together, pull in consultants, and put the experts on the case. The problem is that adaptive challenges cannot be solved with existing expertise. They require completely different thinking and a completely different kind of leadership.
Adaptive Challenges Require A Different Approach
Adaptive challenges require openness to new solutions that may have never been considered or taken seriously. They require leaders to show vulnerability and teams to make trade-offs of the values and behaviors that have served them until now and sculpt a new set that will take them into the future. They require mobilizing people of all levels and functions to collaborate and create an answer that may never fit into the norm. This may take longer that we’re used to. And this is not what conventional leadership training equips us for. Sometimes, conventional just doesn’t work.
This is why we built The Influence Model. The Influence Model is steeped in groundbreaking research on what makes leaders successful in the face of adaptive challenges. It provides a tool to prepare leaders how to mobilize people to take the kind of action that drives breakthrough performance and identify breakdowns so they can get back on track fast. The way we see it, you can do the pre-work to get things right the first time or you can do the re-work later.
The first step, CLARIFY is about narrowing down the issue and getting clear on the simplest root cause. It’s about naming the issue and why it is important to you, those around you, and the organization. Once the issue is clear, the second step is to make sure there is FOCUS on it. You can’t solve issues you’re not talking about, so the issue must be named and positioned with a sense of urgency and reasons why it is critical. Once we have focus on the issue, it’s time to create ALIGNment that it is, in fact, worth addressing and that the other party has a role in solving it. This is not about getting someone to agree with you on what to do, but more about creating alignment that the issue has merit and should be addressed. Finally, shift to ACT and outline what needs to be done, who needs to be involved (and their role). and how people will be held accountable.
If your team needs to be better equipped to lead in the face of adaptive challenges or if you are tired of trying to get things done and feel like change is coming at you like a meteor. If your team is accountable for goals that require mobilizing people in new ways and the ball just isn’t moving forward, call us for a 20-minute conversation on how the Influence Model can make a difference. It’s what we do.