“I hate this new system, it takes me forever to enter in this information.” Or, “I miss the days when we could just teach and not have to implement this latest fad.” You have heard these statements before. Does the person truly loathe the change itself? I don’t think so. We will assume all change is inherently good if it is aligned to a shared vision, and if it is for the betterment of all customers and stakeholders involved. The implementation plan may be sub par or the communication around the change might be lacking, but typically change has great intentions.
No matter how great the change initiative, it will fail if those called to implement it do not see a need for the change.
So how is this need for change created? It is not the leader walking in and saying, we need to change. There should be an imbalance created between the status quo and what should be. If there is not an imbalance, there will be no reason to abandon the status quo. As a leader, it is our job to create this imbalance between the current status quo and what should be. A collective, compelling, and game changing vision tips the scales over to what should be. When this happens, why would anyone want to go back to status quo?
I want to pause just a second to give an analogy. This reminds me of planning the perfect camping trip. Camping is only fun when the right dynamics are in play. I will show you how at the same time as I make parallel comparisons to creating the foundation for positive imbalance or disequilibrium:
1. Establish a culture of respect, synergy, and positive relationships. I put this one as number one because without a strong, positive culture, the best change initiative will not succeed. Camping is only fun when you go with people who like camping. People who hate camping will make the experience miserable for those who love camping.
2. Collectively engage in dialogue, study, and reflection. Discover together that there could be a better way of doing something. Challenging the status quo is easier when the community around you is doing it as well. Most of us prefer to camp with other people and probably would not consider a solo camping trip. You can play games, talk around the campfire, hike together, etc.
3. Exude confidence and comfort when traveling into uncharted territory. You might fail. That’s okay, you will learn from it and everyone will grow in the process. It’s a win-win in the end. You might have some anxiety about camping in a place where you are unfamiliar with the trails and are paranoid a skunk is going to attack your tent while you sleep. However, for those who love camping, we go anyway and will learn from the mishaps that occur. (Keep your smores out of reach or you might get skunked)
The energy and motivation created from this positive imbalance must be sustained throughout the implementation process. Continue to promote open communication and input from team members. Happy campers are the best implementors!
Image Credit: www.mint.com