When change expert Phil Buckley is “in the house,” you’re always guaranteed a high energy, engaging conversation jam-packed with practical tips. Our Ask the Expert conversation was no exception. Check out the full conversation here and be sure to buy Phil’s latest book, Change on the Run. It is a wonderful resource for anyone seeking to implement and navigate change – big or small – in a world that just keeps on accelerating.
We covered a lot of ground in our hour together. Here are my Top 3 takeaways:
1) Leading Change During a Pandemic IS Extra Exhausting
Pandemic fatigue is real and, for those tasked with leading change, keeping ourselves motivated and on track can be as challenging, if not more, than bringing others along with us. Creating clear expectations for ourselves and others (maybe even lowering those expectations a bit); helping ourselves and colleagues connect to a bigger purpose; and, creating opportunities for collaboration and connection throughout the process are all three strategies that we can employ to navigate change during the perpetual Groundhog Day feeling of Covid. The first point about clarity of expectations really hit home for me. Most pressure is internal, so stepping back and asking ourselves whether or not the bar we have set for ourselves is realistic and reasonable is a good exercise – particularly for all of us overachieving perfectionists.
2) Blockers Have Feelings Too
There’s always someone who doesn’t like your change effort and, too often, those blockers can cause initiatives to slow down or grind to a halt. Rather than overexerting yourself to try to win over blockers, pause and make them part of the solution. What is it about your planned approach that isn’t sitting right? What would they like to see done differently? By validating their concerns and engaging them in the solution, you can bring reluctant individuals on your change journey with less reluctance. A great phrase to use with blockers to get to the heart of their concerns: “tell me more.” Curiosity is a wonderful tool for any change leader to tap in to.
3) Be Ready to Let Go of Your Baby
Chances are you’ve built and nurtured your change plan with loving care. You’ve thought through every angle and are thrilled with the outcome. And therein lies the problem. Having others disagree, rip your plan apart – or worse – call it off-base or ill thought-out is the last thing any of us want to hear. To avoid the pitfall of getting defensive, argumentative, and vigorously pushing through your plan as-is, step back and co-create your plan early-on. Providing others with the opportunity to see the first draft of your thinking allows the opportunity for feedback to be incorporated in along the way. When people have the opportunity to put their own input into your change process, they’re naturally going to be more vested in its overall success. So, resist the urge to release your plan “fully baked” to the world. Engage others early on and shape the final vision and plan together.
As always, Phil was full of so many more practical, instantly applicable change strategies.
Next up on our series is the View from the C-Suite with Cara Keating, President of PepsiCo Foods Canada. We’re going to be chatting about stepping into the top job seven months before a pandemic and what she’s learned about leadership from the top of the house. Register here.
You can find recordings of all our sessions on our YouTube Channel.
And registration is on now for our Spring Roundtable for Leaders program. This session is open to leaders at the Senior Manager / Director level. As a reminder, all our programs are delivered virtually so join us! Contact us here to get more information.
PS – Don’t forgot to grab a copy of my new book The Grassroots Leadership Revolution to get tips on managing your career and building a network of support