The toughest thing about fresh insight, new strategies and a personal passion to make something happen is the wait for others to catch on. Am I right!? Here are five things to help you stay the course as you try to pitch a project, champion a strategy and win people over to lead change of any kind.
- It’s a trip, not a destination. (Play on words intentional.)
If we’re focused on the outcome, we’ll constantly feel the frustration instead of the win. But, if we focus on the people over the project (or the process over the event) relationships will gradually strengthen and each little step will feel like a win on the way to our ultimate goal. Remember, it’s less about technique than it is attitude. Celebrate the first downs along the way to the end zone.
- It’s not “all or nothing.”
We can’t change every-one and every-thing all at once. There’s going to be several steps forward and a couple steps back along the way. Don’t let that discourage you. It’s like a golf game. You’re going to have some good rounds and some bad ones. When you have a bad round, pick up your gear and move on to the next hole. A bad swing or lost ball never means it's time to walk off the course.
- It's not a single transaction.
Rarely, if ever, is a one-size-fits-all roll-out effective. Some groups require more time than others and what works for one person won’t work with the next. Build in time to navigate through different personalities to discover what motivates and builds trust for each person and group. Pick one or two to invest in first to build trust and create some key, visible wins. It will attract others to the cause and you’ll gradually gain momentum and speed. Along the way, build ongoing checkpoints into the process to keep processing the wins, the struggles and the cost of standing still.
- It takes time.
God isn’t just using this change to help improve others, he’s using others to grow and improve you. Whatever time you think it’s going to take to roll something out, multiply that by at least 3. It’s not linear but multi- dimensional. There is more at play than we can see. With faith, persistence and a commitment to self-awareness the stars will start to come into alignment down the road. It took me about 3 years to start to see a tipping point for some initiatives I’ve led in the past–not 3 months like I projected.
- It is ongoing.
While you will build more advocates in your camp along the way, it will never be 100% consensus. You will need to keep refining your emotional intelligence, vision casting, coaching, storytelling and redirecting skillset. There will always be new team members or difficult personalities unwilling or unable to change. What you can look forward to, though is the hard part being 20% of your job instead of 80%.