Guideposts in leading and influencing change

perspectives Sep 07, 2017

Many culture change initiatives dive directly into a full throttle, take-on-the-world approach without pausing to see who is on board, who is in the trenches and who is simply lost.

If you would like to be more successful in supporting cultural evolution or leading change, here are some key insights from our Adaptive Cultures community that may support you:

Seek first to understand

Some people may resist what appears to be the most benign of changes. Before jumping to conclusions, pause to consider what that person’s positive intention may be. Seek to understand what the change may be putting at risk for them, others, or the organisation, and what you can learn from engaging with them. The biggest blocker can sometimes be the judgment of the resistance itself. Holding unconditional positive regard and seeking to understand those people who appear resistant, can be a powerful tool of influence.

The usefulness of structure

Having a plan and a structure to support leading and influencing change can be very powerful in a complex environment. A structure can provide a sense of objectivity which supports being calm in the face of overwhelm or challenge and responding, rather than reacting. As long as structures and plans are used as guide posts which can adapt and change, rather than remain fixed, structure can support greater adaptability, rather than curtail it.

Passionate non-attachment

Passionate non-attachment is an art form. This way of being can look easy from a distance, however, can be difficult to embody. One of our Adaptive Cultures community shared that the method of focusing on the greater good, or what is truly important to others, rather than their own specific needs, doubts or fears, has changed the way they influence and helped to develop passionate non-attachment.

From little things big things can grow

Small things can make a very big difference. Very often, when people break down significant organisational issues, they find that many people doing a few basic things differently, can move mountains. Culture is made up of individuals and if each individual chooses to change just one thing, the culture has an opportunity to shift dramatically.

The communication deficit

Even though the people in charge of change programs, including senior executives, may believe they are crystal clear, others in the organisation often have an entirely different experience. If people are not clear on what change is required and why, this can stall the journey. Actions speak louder than words and what is visible to some may be invisible to others. Celebrate and signpost the change journey at each step and ensure that actions from key influencers and leaders reinforce rather than contradict other forms of communication. The meaning of a communication is the response it receives and often people may need to hear the same message many times and in many forms for it to truly sink in.

We have three spaces remaining in our next practitioner program beginning March 2018. If you would like to explore becoming part of our Adaptive Cultures community, please send us a message, join our Adaptive Cultures group or consider joining our practitioner group in 2018.

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