George Bernard Shaw said, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” Wise words and yet change is something that people find hard to deal with and often fear the most. With any change comes challenge, however, if we aren’t openly embracing and implementing change in our dynamic business environment we will not come out the other side victorious. Personally and professionally most people want to progress. They want to avoid the status quo that is the enemy of success, they want to grow, and they want to improve. This is impossible without change.
So the question of what needs to change is a pertinent question to any situation and it needs to be asked regularly.
It was an interesting discussion the other week when I sat down with the Directors of a small business. They were outlining how the business had grown, they had recruited some great talent and business performance across some key areas had improved. Music to your ears as a leader, right? Right! So when I asked the question what has changed for you as a result of this, I was surprised to hear ‘to be totally honest, nothing really’. They were still doing the same long hours, still deeply involved ‘in’ the business and strategy was suffering. They felt reactive and didn’t feel they controlled their time or schedule.
There was something wrong with this picture!
It’s common to look externally to identify things that needed to change. Clearly they had identified the workforce needed to change, systems and processes needed to be implemented, how they delivered to their clients had to change and various operational and administrative functions needed to change. One thing they hadn’t identified was how their leadership and their roles needed to change. So they kept operating as they were, rather than adapting their leadership to a new environment and leveraging where they could.
To assist in shifting their thinking from ‘only I can do’ to ‘how can I enable others’, I asked them the following five questions:
- What specifically needs to change for each of them?
- They had recruited great people – how are they utilizing their talents and how are they enabling them to contribute?
- What tasks should now be delegated or outsourced rather than hoarded?
- What role should they each be playing in the business to future proof it?
- What systems and processes do they need to implement to support their new roles and ensure they maintain a sense of control?
Simple questions but ones they hadn’t stopped to consider. And the responses to those questions have set them up for progress.
In this busy world, we tend to be absorbed in so many tasks. We are constantly doing and executing rather than taking a step back and assessing what is really going on. This is something we simply can’t afford to continue to do.
What needs to change for you to enable you to progress and achieve better results? What needs to change in your leadership? Your Personal Brand? Your communication? Your strategy? Your business? Your career? Your positioning? Take a step back and elevate your thinking. You may be amazed what you will be able to see.