It’s great to have a clear plan for what you are doing in business, where you wish to go and who you want to serve or take with you in the journey. Having a plan gives you focus, direction and clarity, all of which support the effectiveness of the growth journey.
But let’s be honest here – while most of us love growth and development, we struggle with change. I recently facilitated a session with about 150 business people and asked them to raise their hand if they were committed to growth. There was a flurry of activity and barely a hand remained down. Then I asked them to keep their hand up if they also love embraced and enjoyed change. The 20 or so hands that remained up largely belonged to the focus group, with whom we had been working to develop the process and infrastructure for the development journey.
Herein lies your dilemma if you are responsible for defining, engineering or driving any significant process of growth, development or change.
The reality is that you will need to find ways to engage and inspire those who want to go on the journey and enjoy being part of the change to be created, but struggle with a fear change or at least the destabilisation and uncertainty that goes with the territory of growth and change.
As with all things in life, we are generally up for the challenges if it matters enough to us. Whether it’s doing what’s required to lose the weight, taking a pay cut to have the lifestyle or travelling all over the country in order to make our difference in the world, we will only commit to it and follow through on that commitment if it matters enough. This is a matter of the heart! That about which we feel strongly, we will do the work to achieve.
So, how do you know what matters enough? The answer lives in the WHY BEHIND.
We strongly advocate that before you head off on any journey of growth or change, you get incredibly clear about why you are doing this. Asking the following questions may be of assistance:
- Why does this goal matter to you?
- Why is making this change important to you or the people you lead?
- Why will your customers or the people you serve care about this change and why does that matter to you?
Asking questions about the why behind the change begins to open up space to explore the importance of the outcome to you – personally and emotionally. Our research clearly indicates that you have a far greater likelihood of creating a positive and successful change process when your emotional investment (ie: why it matters) in making the change is greater than your emotional investment in staying the same. So, the greater the effort you put into getting really clear about why something matters before you set out on the change journey, the greater the likelihood of the success of that journey. In this way, when things get challenging and uncertain, which they probably will, it will be your emotional conviction that will carry you (and possible others around you) through to success.
Furthermore, if you are really clear about your WHY and strongly emotionally committed to the change journey, you are far more likely to pay attention to the importance of getting clear about the WHY of the people around you.
Great fuel for the change journey can be found in the shared WHY, to which you can return when the uncertainty, instability and struggle threatens to derail your progress.