I am regularly faced with the challenges of trying to be an ambassador of strategy, people and process improvement. They are the same challenges that CEOs encounter when they try to make changes that will reshape and transform their companies so they can better compete in the marketplace.
On the surface, there are two issues that typically need to be addressed:
- Fear – Employees/leaders do not fully understand all aspects of proposed new programs. It is natural and common for employees to look for factors in the new programs that violate their old belief systems. Rather than seek to understand, they will want to be understood. While their belief systems served them well in the past they typically failed to recognize the sometimes-hidden, long-term consequences of their beliefs.
- Flexibility – Typically management tries to overcome “fear” by being too forceful and rigid when introducing and implementing new concepts, programs, and processes to their organization.
As a CEO, I have found that anything transformational has to be driven by the CEO. The CEO is the person that must balance the need for inclusion in decision-making while making the decisions and driving implementation of the desired change. While aspects of implementation can be delegated, it is the CEO that establishes vision and ensures that everyone stays the course. The speed at which complete buy-in occurs is the result of each individual’s past experience and the biases they bring to new situations. For many, there is a “wait and see” attitude that causes them not to accept change until after they have experienced the results. The dilemma here is that many will never experience the results of positive change because they refused to welcome the change in the first place.
Imagine that you decide that you want everyone in your company to embrace a healthy lifestyle. This means that everyone must eat the appropriate amount of the “right” foods and exercise daily. Well, the people that are already eat healthy and exercise regularly will think this is a great idea. The ones that love rich foods, overeat, indulge in sweets, and/or hate exercise will think it is a horrible idea. This is despite the fact that everyone knows it is in their best interests to be healthy. The real reason is that people are comfortable with their existing routines (even when it is not in their best interests). In a way, their current bad habits are bringing them short-term pleasure (e.g. enjoy desserts and rich food) and ignore the long-term consequence of bad health.
I shared this with you because my experience in implementing programs like “Four Decisions ProgramTM” is the equivalent of asking everyone to become healthy. In the beginning it is uncomfortable because it causes people to sacrifice short-term pleasure for long-term benefits they cannot visualize or experience now. However, as the CEO, you can recognize that the elements in the “Four Decisions ProgramTM” program have already been proven by thousands of companies and executives. All the elements are well-documented and have been written about by some of the most renowned business thought leaders of our time.
As an executive leadership coach and founder of Activate Group Inc., based in Miami, Florida, we work with companies to deliver transformational management and business coaching to executive leadership. To learn more please contact Howard at (305) 722 7213 or email him at [email protected].