Why Bother with Positive Leadership, Change or Culture?
Change is hard and can be rejected by cynical employees. So why bother with making a positive change within your organization? Why bother with practicing leading positively or positively changing your culture? In an earlier article on Making the Case for Change, the why is crystal clear – when a positive change succeeds, it creates a positive organization, because people are happier, secure in their role and more productive.
Studies show 1/3 embrace change, 1/3 resist and fear change, and 1/3 are indifferent and go along with it until it negatively affects them. Under M&A there’s 50% resistance to the point of departure from an organization. You’re not going to force someone to do it – you can’t push a stick! The issue at its core is leadership must be able to reframe the process requiring time, patience and fortitude. Accelerating any change requires work and an understanding what the pace of change can do and how that pace impacts the team and/or the organization.
Leaders must go first. If you want them to follow you, then you have to adopt the changes first or it will fail and fail horribly.
Strength to lead positively. Employees will be looking to you and at you to see if you have the fortitude to stick with it.
Making the case for change. Convincing a group why change makes sense, what it will take to change and convince each individual how the change makes sense to them in their own role.
Knowing what you’re up against from a position of strength, then you best understand why they won’t follow along:
Logical Resistance – it’s always about the people, the climate or environment and the company’s internal identity which bubbles up false assumptions, false priorities and limiting beliefs
Adaptability – lacking the skills to adapt to change – unprepared and unaware – they sailed off the map into oblivion
Political Resistance – happy in our own silo bubble, we may lose turf or influence throughout
Fear – the emotional resistance to change; internal grips with past to understand the future
Implementation Step – our propensity to goal setting, committing to, action to accountability and the lack of it, effective or dysfunctional teams, influence 1-on-1 and communicating, perceptual issues throughout the process evolution.
All of these factors and plenty more can affect and effect the organization’s ability to withstand the landmines of successful change. However, as people tend to copy each other’s behaviors they interact with, the empowering behaviors of kindness, openness, truth, and trust spread.
Noted expert on organizational culture Robert Quinn says, “In a positive organization, people flourish while they work and exceed expectations regarding outcomes. They have a culture in which people engage, collaborate, grow and perform at an extraordinary level.” The typical top-down mindset that causes executives to force-feed people to change is a linear way of thinking and perpetuates common impediments to change with emphasis on rational logic and the idea of planning and control – carrot and stick. This mindset is deeply embedded, and we’re all trained to function within this hierarchical model from an early age – raised to obey our parents, our teachers, the law, the experts and our boss(es).
There’s no one authority or expert who has the one, true, best solution, and there may not be one. If there was, then we wouldn’t have +70% failure rate of many so-called “change initiatives” disguised as Band-Aids on broken legs. There are many layers to reality, countless factors interfering in a system where we need everyone’s ideas and energy to change and face the challenges affecting every organization.
It’s not a parent-child relationship, however many times when we go into organizations and assess the environment, this identity, mindset and behavior is exactly what we find. What’s the matter with you adults? What are you? 12? It’s long past time we started thinking for ourselves. It’s important that we embody the change we want to see on our teams, departments, divisions and so on. It’s time we put our big boy panties on and take ownership of ourselves, together. We need autonomy, and in a connected way – to others, to our organizations, to our environment.
“There are people who make things happen, there are people who
watch things happen, and there are people who wonder what
The leader is to lead! They don’t have all the answers and no one said, they had to be the smartest one in the building either. They don’t suffer alone, knowing best, solving everything, and being fully responsible. Leaders learn to let go, while employees must learn to be response-able and take more ownership. You can change your culture from your cubicle. How else do you expect anything to change around here if you’re going to sit on the sidelines and watch what happens?
We’ve discussed before that in the greatest moment of stress and pressure, we all revert back to a level we’ve mastered, NOT trained up to – meaning when shit happens, we tend to revert back to some bad behaviors.
According to Quinn, in his book Positive Organizations, people need to:
Have a sense of purpose
Contribute to the common good
Have authentic conversations and
Trust the process