I’ve been reading “Leading Change” by John P Kotter for…. a year maybe? It’s one of those books that is kind of like rich chocolate – loaded with great input but best enjoyed one bite at a time.
Anyways, Mr. Kotter brings up some excellent and important points worth considering including this nugget of wisdom:
Boldness (note the bold font 🙂 ) is important in creating change. “Bold moves that reduce complacency (in employees/teammates) tend to increase conflict and to create anxiety, at least at first. Real leaders take action because they have confidence that the forces unleashed can be directed to achieve important ends.” (Kotter, 43)
Once upon a time – in a management role – I was assigned a new part of the business to run. I was managing about 15 employees directly and had observed the team struggling with an organzational system that was intact. However, it’d been that way since day 1 and – therefore – it was status quo. On day 1 of my new assignment, I decided to change the organization system. I’ll be confident and say my idea was better, more effective, and infinitely more efficient than the previous one in place. However, upon completion, much of my team was grumbling. “What the heck?” I pondered.
However, after 2 weeks in place, my team had unanimously adapted to my new system. In fact, they loved it and were operating more efficiently and effectively than ever. They caught on quickly and saw the improvement first-hand.
Hindsight is 20/20. I was bold, which is great. Kotter would like that. However, in my hindsight, I probably could have brought my team with me along for the ride. It would have created some harmony and a little more instant buy-in. Even if you’re the boldest leader in the world – don’t ever underestimate the advantages of creating change alongside your team.