This would have been the message if the speaker at your last business meeting presented in nursery rhymes: Jack be nimble. Jack be quick. Jack jump over The candle stick. You feel better, right? You now know what is expected of you and the definition of success. And, you have no real context for why it is important or idea about how to move forward.
The government we want is nimble, flexible, and responsive. The government we experience, in many cases, is slow, cumbersome, and totally unresponsive. Let’s put this another way: We want our government to operate like our favorite business. We believe, in contrast, that our government is the poster child for lumbering bureaucratic inefficiency and employees who are out of touch with the realities of the marketplace. Twenty plus years of working with private and public sector organizations has taught me that the truth is actually somewhere between the two extremes.
Leaders distinguish themselves in times of great risk and great reward. Whether it is the political leader who bolsters our confidence in times of crisis or the business leader who follows her instincts to seize an opportunity, we respect and admire the leader who is out front when the stakes are high.
Three weeks back I wrote about my exceptional service experience at Sewell Lexus of Dallas. The theme of the post was that it was the Sewell people rather than their product that has kept me as a loyal customer for over 20 years. The premise behind that post is the same one I offered in my 2006 book, Results Rule!: Fundamentals are the minimum. Being distinctive is the difference if it adds value. I can purchase a Lexus from a number of different dealers. The quality and service of the Sewell staff makes them distinctive in a way that adds extreme value. The very nice folks that service GE kitchen appliances just reminded me that you can’t forget the first part of my premise: Fundamentals are the minimum. Because without the fundamentals, there is nothing you can do to stand out with your customers (at least not in a positive way).
Every change is evaluated against the result AND the damage inflicted during its implementation. Ignore the people side of the change (feelings and perceptions), and it is only a matter of time before the desired results suffer, too. The type of change needed in today’s successful organizations is continuous. It is generated from every level, and it requires engagement and commitment from those involved. You can mandate compliance. Commitment and engagement to make change work are volunteered when you focus on more than the end result.
There has to be something we can learn from Washington’s failure to address the debt limit, right? There are three very important lessons about leading change you can take from the chaos over approving the federal budget and raising the debt ceiling.
This week we feature a guest blog by New York Times best-selling author, Larry Winget. It is based on his new book, Grow a Pair. I can't recommend this book enough. Buy it now, and then buy another copy for that person you know needs to grow a pair.
Scott Keller and Carolyn Aiken, consultants at McKinsey & Company, suggest that 80 percent of what leaders care about and talk about when trying to enlist support for change does not matter to 80 percent of the workforce. To gain the commitment for the change that you want, you must connect with people where they are. You do that by making the change relevant and real.
Another blog post about change? Really? The last three I posted aren't enough? How about the thousands of other books, blogs, and articles on the subject? I am with you. I don’t need to hear another message that changes are coming and I need to get on board. And yet, we are confronted with this reality: Most of our efforts to make change work don’t work as well as we had hoped … or even at all.
Your long-term success will quite possibly come down to a simple question: Are you a dodo bird or a coyote? Learn if you have what it takes to thrive in a world of constant change.