The toughest thing about fresh insight, new strategies, and a personal passion to see it through is waiting for others to catch the wave! Am I right!? Here are five things to help you stay the course as you try to champion a dream, win people over, and lead change of any kind.
- 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 than it is attitude.
- It’s not “all or nothing.”
We can’t change everyone and everything at once. There’s going to be several steps forward and a couple of steps back along the way. Don’t let that discourage you if it’s more of an exception rather than a rule. It’s like a golf game. You’re going to have some good holes and some bad ones. When you have a bad hole, move on to the next one. It’s not game over.
- Focus on a few rather than many.
Rarely, if ever, is a one-size-fits-all roll-out effective. We are going to have to spend more time with some leaders over others. And what works to get buy-in from one person won’t work with the next. It takes time to navigate through the personalities to discover what motivates and builds trust for each person. Invest in constant and ongoing conversations with your boss all along the way. Not to get things done but to keep processing the wins, the struggles, and the cost of standing still. And then pick one or two leaders to invest in to build trust and create some key, visible wins. It will attract others to the cause, and you’ll gradually gain momentum and speed.
- It takes time.
God isn’t just using this change to help improve others; he’s using others to help change us. Whatever time you think it’s going to take to roll something out, multiply that by at least 3. 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 me about 3 years to start to see a tipping point for some initiatives I’ve led in the past–not 3 months.
- You’re never done.
While you will build more advocates in your camp along the way, it will never be 100% consensus. You will need to keep refining your vision casting, coaching, and redirecting skills. 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%.