Who’s going to burst your bubble?
Following on from my articles on how to set up your change bubble, I was asked by a leader ‘who is the most likely to burst the bubble when I’ve set it up?’
My answer to this is that the leader themselves is the biggest risk. When it comes to change, it comes down to good leadership to make it succeed and normally it’s a failure of leadership that makes it fail.
So what are your biggest risks?
1. Your own behaviors.
In organizations adopting values based cultures there are many ways to interpret the behaviors that could or should be associated with each value. For the leader this is a time where they have to be certain their natural approach fits with the ‘desired’ behaviors (so if you are thinking of following a model that suggest ‘we should all be Blue’ be very careful). Situations where your don’t match are a risk.
Even in systems changes the leader has to be careful to follow it to the letter (no special reports for the boss). If it’s right for the organisation it has to be right for you!
I once worked with an organisation that was highly focused on product quality. Every day they would issue information on product failures, near misses and product issues. They ran an culture survey that said people were not engaged with the business so they set up an culture plan, issued it and told people it was important. Then for the next 50 weeks they talked about product quality. If you say something is important, you launch a project and then you don’t mention it much, don’t be surprised if people think that you don’t think it is important. You can burst the bubble if you stop paying attention to the change for any lengthy period of time. It will survive a day, a couple of days, maybe a week, but a few weeks? A few weeks is a long time in change, so you are best to have daily attention until its embedded, working, delivering what you said it would. You need to give it your attention.
3 Giving Way
If you work in any organisation of any scale, you have to deal with politics of some sort. Things tend to happen because senior people ‘make suggestions’. Leaders are particularly susceptible to ‘suggestions’. In fact if staff were as susceptible to ‘suggestions’ from above as leaders are you wouldn’t have to go to a lot of effort to make change happen, you would just ‘suggest it’. Maybe it’s because leaders rely on the hierarchy for promotion, for bonuses etc or maybe its because leaders need to believe that people above them are right to justify the fact that that they must be right (because they are the boss), but in many circumstances I often see leaders rolling over at a simple word from a more senior leader. So if someone ‘suggests’ that you ‘tone that culture stuff down’ or that ‘zzz is not really as important as yyy’ and you ‘take it on board’ and ‘ make a few changes’ then your bubble is at risk. Staff smell politics a mile away and they will know why you’ve given way and to them it means you didn’t believe in any of it.
A colleague of mine says ‘if it’s to be, it’s got to be me’ and when it comes to change and your change bubble this is certainly the case.