5 Things to Help You Lead Change

The toughest part about making something happen is waiting for others to catch on. Am I right!? Here are five things to help you stay the course as you try to pitch a project, champion a strategy, and win people over to lead change of any kind.

1. It’s a Trip, Not a Destination (Play on words intentional.)

If we’re focused on the outcome, we’ll constantly feel the frustration instead of the win. 

But if we focus on the people over the project (or the process over the event), relationships will gradually strengthen and each little step will feel like a win on the way to our ultimate goal. Remember, it’s less about technique and more about attitude. Celebrate the first downs along the way to the end zone.

2. It’s Not “All or Nothing”

We can’t change everyone and everything all at once. 

There are going to be several steps forward and a couple steps back along the way. Don’t let that discourage you. It’s like a golf game. You’re going to have some good rounds and some bad ones. When you have a bad round, pick up your gear and move on to the next hole. A bad swing or lost ball never means it’s time to walk off the course. 

3. It’s Not a Single Transaction

Rarely, if ever, is a one-size-fits-all roll out effective.

Some groups require more time than others and what works for one person won’t work with the next. Build in time to navigate through different personalities to discover what motivates and builds trust for each person and group. Pick one or two to invest in first to build trust and create some key, visible wins. It will attract others to the cause and you’ll gradually gain momentum and speed.  Along the way, build ongoing checkpoints to keep processing the wins, the struggles, and the cost of standing still.

4. It Takes Time

Whatever time you think it’s going to take to roll something out, multiply that by at least three.

It’s not linear but multi-dimensional. There is more at play than we can see. With faith, persistence, and a commitment to self-awareness the stars will start to come into alignment down the road. It took about three years to start to see a tipping point for some initiatives I’ve led in the past—not three months like I projected. 

5. It Is Ongoing

While you will build more advocates in your camp along the way, it will never be 100% consensus. 

You’ll need to keep working at it. There will always be new team members or difficult personalities unwilling or unable to change. What you can look forward to though, is the hard part being 20% of your job instead of 80%.