April 2014: Behave your way into the change.

Oftentimes, leaders hesitate to launch a change effort – especially culture change – because things are not perfectly lined up to guarantee complete success.  Truth is, change is messy.  And it takes time.  The only way to get moving is to, well, get moving.

The most important thing to remember is that change rarely follows a straight line.  You will inevitably take two steps forward and one step back. But as long as leadership is aligned on the direction and expectations, and has truly positive intent and a commitment to persevere through the ups and downs, you will make progress.

As you’re trying out new behaviors, transparency is a powerful tool.  Let people know what you’re doing, and why.  Ask for some forgiveness in advance.  And ask for help – especially feedback.  If you’re leading a function or organization through a change, encourage those around you to do the same.  You’ll find that if you all start behaving your way into the change – and helping one another when you fall – you will feel the wind at your back as you move along your change journey.