First, you’ve got to get the word out. Everyone must know and must come on board. I may be assuming too much here, but you didn’t create the vision entirely in isolation did you? I am assuming you tossed it around the key members of the company’s organizational body. Members of the board of directors, top level staff, and key associates should have been in on this from day one. Every effective leader knows that the key to corporate success is buy in, the magic that occurs when the key people are on board, enthusiastic, and energized. If you haven’t sold it to them the odds of selling it to everyone else and moving the company towards it are pretty grim.
Second, you’ll have to walk your associates and staff through the painful process of change. Many companies and organizations say they want to turn around a dying company, to re-energize a lagging organization, but it just is not possible to change without change. I’ll confess, this is the toughest job. Selling your team on a bright and beautiful tomorrow is relatively easy. Getting them to buy in is a bit tougher. Getting them to make the changes that must be made is the most difficult.
In fact, a company or organization is like a human being. The term corporation is from the latin word corpus – a body – and there are similarities. Like humans, corporations have a DNA. They are genetically programmed to act a certain way. And they face a life cycle. Also like humans, that life cycle can be extended. The “body” can rejuvenate itself and change its habits so healthy practices are substituted for unhealthy ones.
Remember this from a previous blog post:
No Vision = No Destiny
No Destiny = No Purpose
No Purpose = No Direction
No Direction = No Progress
No Progress = No Growth
No Growth = Decay and Failure
In an article for Bloomberg Businessweek, Phil Buckley identified five key questions are helpful in determining the likelihood that a major change will succeed or fail:
- How is the vision different, better and more compelling?
- Are the leaders personally committed to the change?
- Does the organization have the capacity to make the change?
- How ingrained is the current culture?
- And will the change actually deliver the identified outcomes?
These are questions to which you must know the answers. Your ability to navigate the turbulent waters of change is a real time gauge of your leadership skills. I’ve opened this up with my posts on vision, strategy, and tactics but there is so much more to be said.
It is the how’s, the practical techniques that are critical…and those skills will make up the next portion of this series. See you on Monday.