As a Change Agent, the more I work with businesses and leaders, I see that the ‘Soft’ skill required for Changing / Transforming these companies are very similar in requirement to that of a good Leader!
Let me explain by discussing 2 methods of Moving people to take Action!
Agitation V Irritation Or Good Will V Fear!
When I engage with businesses, I am exposed, I have no protection. I have no choice but get results and I will make sure I achieve the Goals that were agreed in the contract how long it takes. Contracts can be difficult to orchestrate as I go in half blind. I don’t know the people I am going to be engaging with, how interested they will be in helping and working with me. This is always my challenge. While I will always have a visual map developed on the ‘Hard’ aspect of the project in my mind, that is difficult to do when dealing with people I am not familiar with. So what do I have to do?
I have to take them on a journey!
I certainly don’t beat them with a stick and force them to execute activities. In the old days when Upstream activities gave you the competitive edge, this may have worked, however in the age of Customer Experience and Engagement, it most certainly won’t. This is what is called ‘Irritation’, that is pushing your team to do something that YOU want them to do with nothing in it for them. This will irritate your team and in severe cases you will lose cooperation very quickly and become very exposed. Do you think I could afford that to happen?
One of the first things I conduct when executing a Process / Business Improvement project is to have a closed session with the team I will be working with. That is a session away from Managers. The focus of this session is discussing ‘Their’ current pains and by the end of the session, between us all we will select at least 3 major pains that no matter what improvement process we end up with, we have to solve those 3 pains, the ‘WIIFM’. This is Agitation and motivating the team to solve something THEY want to do or get rid of. The benefits of this approach is it creates a Win – Win – Win, Win for the team, Win for the business and Win for me. And it never ceases to amaze me how effective this process is.
Companies are starting to learn, through the recent economic crisis, that their businesses are made up of real people and not just numbers on a seat. Yes people can turn up to work, do their job, get paid, go home and do a relatively good job.
Is that all you want for your business?
I’m sure you don’t. Every leader in every business has a vision of what Success looks like for the company. However they will not reach that vision unless they understand what success looks like for each and every employee and coach them not only on performance, also on personal and professional development. When you agitate people in the right way, bring them on a journey of success, you are then giving your business every opportunity to reach the Vision every good Leader has. As in my role, a Leader’s role is not about cracking the whip to get hard results, it’s also about taking their team(s) on a journey for them and for the business.
Business success these days is about employee engagement and development. So while many companies are thinking and talking about Customer Engagement, they should also be considering their stance on their Employee Experience! Agitating and encouraging them to make a difference in their day to day work environment. This will create a difference and shine above your competition by having high performance teams WANTING to work at their best. This is GOOD WILL in action!
So can you see both leaders and Change Agents should take advantage of this? I have a need to create a positive atmosphere, that helps them to help the business to help me and I pay massive attention to this. Just like a leader should create that Good Will in their business, I need to create that Good Will also. Yes I can achieve success without it, either way I have to! However how do you think my success would improve with the backing of a fired up team? And the answer to this is 2 fold
- I will deliver well above what was contracted – by getting the team to offer me information I would never find out myself
- It will greatly increase my chances of getting repeat work
And this is all based on Agitating my team and creating powerful Good Will just like a great Leader would. They say necessity is the mother of invention and it never ceases to amaze me how powerful this is. Much more powerful than any WANT or FEAR. Good Leaders don’t leave this to chance and they know by harnessing the power of the Good Will in their team(s), they will sky rocket their chances of success.
So whatever situation you are in, whether managing a team, business, project or even a change programme ask yourself these following questions
- Are you agitating or irritating, that is creating Good Will or Fear?
- Is there anything that you can improve on to increase that Good Will?
- When was the last time you asked any of your team members what pains they had?
- When was the last time you asked how can you help them?
Good Will in a business is a very underrated value and please don’t take it for granted. Grow your team and you will find this will come back in kind for you and for the business.