When Leading a Change, Assess Current Behaviors

Are you achieving what you want?

On Friday, I began sharing some learning about creating a change in a dysfunctional situation.

The expert, Roger Schwarz, said that the smart leader starts with questions rather than answers.

The first question is: What specific outcomes are we seeking? I shared some thoughts on that question Friday. You can read those here.

The second question is: What are the behaviors that are prohibiting us from achieving the outcomes?

The key here is the leader asks the question of the team as compared to supplying the answers from the top.

When you think about it, we behave ourselves into every situation. When we assess why a dysfunction exists, it comes down to the behaviors we are doing that aren’t contributing to the desired cause. It helps to isolate them, consider the impact and make a plan to replace them.

The best way to do that is to ask the team. They know better than leaders where waste occurs, where risks lie, what stops our performance. We just fail to ask as much as we need to.

You see the process so far?

Clarify what we are seeking and communicate it to every team member.

Ask every team member what we are doing to keep us from those outcomes.

My wife will catch me wandering around the house looking for something. She will ask me what I’m looking for.

Once I share the thing for which I’m looking, she frequently helps me to find what I’m looking for.

She says: “If you would have shared what you were trying to accomplish, I could have helped you earlier.”

That’s an insight. Transparent goals lead to honest assessment of performance.

One more on this tomorrow.