Vision and the North Star: Certainty in Uncertain Times
Casting about on the open seas or escaping a hostile force through an unmarked wilderness, your circumstances can change dramatically by the minute. To head confidently in the right direction, you can focus on the North Star for your bearings and to make the decisions that will bring you to safety.
It’s similar when you are guiding your business in ever- changing, even perilous, times. Everything may be shifting, and to survive and thrive you may need to change directions or products or personnel or strategies. At the same time, you remain focused on your North Star—the enduring values that provide your foundation, and the vision that is tomorrow’s beacon.
Values and vision are the steady hand, the beacon, for business growth in changing times.
Today, we look at a Values & Vision Key to Business Growth: #29: Be flexible and make positive and competitive changes whenever needed to achieve your mission and vision.
It may be that corporate flexibility and openness to significant change will be necessary to stay on track to achieve your vision. While change is inevitable, unexpected or significant change will often be met with stubborn resistance.
In their book Leading At A Higher Level, Ken and Scott Blanchard identify six predictable and sequential concerns people have when they are asked to change. By taking the time to address these concerns, you can improve the odds of your next change initiative being successful.
- Beat communication breakdown: People don’t want to be told the change is good until they understand it. Leaders should share information as plainly and as completely as possible. In the absence of clear, factual communication, people tend to create their own information about the change, and rumors become facts.
- Get personal: Once information concerns are satisfied, people will want to know how the change will affect them personally. The following questions, even though not always expressed openly, are common: What’s in it for me to change? Will I win or lose? People with personal concerns want to know how the change will play out for them. They wonder if they have the skills and resources to implement the change. These personal concerns have to be surfaced and addressed. dissipate.
- Plan your action: If leaders address the first two concerns effectively, people will be ready to hear information on the details involved in implementing the change. Leaders should be prepared to answer questions such as: What do I do first, second, third? How do I manage all the details? What happens if it doesn’t work as planned? Where do I go for help? How long will this take?
- Sell the change: After implementation questions are answered, people tend to raise impact concerns. For example: Is the effort worth it? Is the change making a difference? Are we making progress? Are things getting better? Be prepared to share early wins and proof that the change is making a positive difference.
- Collaborate smartly: With some evidence that the change is moving the organization in the right direction, momentum starts to build. At this stage, leaders can look forward to questions such as: Who else should be involved? How can we work with others to get them involved in what we are doing? How do we spread the word?
- Refine for success: Once a change effort is well on its way toward complete adoption, leaders can expect to hear others begin asking about how the change can be refined. For example: How can we improve on our original idea? How do we make the change even better?
To achieve your vision, you may need to lead change in your organization. Are you ready?